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Full text of "Eastern monachism : an account of the origin, laws, discipline, sacred writings, mysterious rites, religious ceremonies, and present circumstances of the order of mendicants founded by Gótama Budha, (compiled from Singhalese mss. and other original sources of information); with comparative notices of the usages and institutions of the western ascetics and a review of the monastic system"

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Section... vLITitI. ^7 





The Author of " Eastern Monachism" has nearly ready for the press, 
should the sale of this work warrant the risk of publication, 


Containing an account of — 1. The System of the Universe, as received by 
the Budhists. 2. The various Orders of Sentient Existence. 3. The primi- 
tive Inhabitants of the Earth ; their faU fiom Purity ; and their- Division 
into foui- Castes. 4. The Budhas who preceded Gotania. 5. The Virtues 
of Gotania Bodhisat, and the States of Being through which he passed 
anterior to the Birth in which he became a supreme Budha. 6. The Ances- 
tors of Gotama Budha. 7. The Legends of the Life of Gotaina Budha. 
8. The Psychology of Budliism. 9. Its Ethics. 

















I. H. S. 






It has been computed by Professor Neumann that there are 
in China, Tibet, the Indo-Chinese countries, and Tartary, 


The laws and regulations of the priesthood belonging to a 
religion so extensively professed as the system of Gotama, 
must necessarily be an object of great interest. But whilst 
Brahmanism has been largely elucidated, comparatively little 
is yet known of Budhism by Europeans. 

In the month of September, 1825, 1 landed in the beautiful 
island of Ceylon as a Wesleyan Missionary, and one of the 
first duties to which I addressed myself was, to acquire a 
knowledge of the language of the people among whom I was 
appointed to minister. After reading the New Testament in 
Singhalese, I began the study of the native books, that I 
might ascertain, from authentic sources, the character of the 
religion I was attempting to displace. From the commence- 
ment, I made notes of whatever appeared to me to be worthy 
of remembrance in the works I read ; and about ten years ago 
determined to pursue my researches with more of method, 
from the intention I then formed of publishing the result, if 
permitted to return to my native land. 

In preparing the present work, it has been my principal 
aim to afford assistance to the missionaries who are living in 


countries where Budhism is professed ; but as I enter upon 
a field of speculation that has hitherto been little cultivated, 
I trust that my labours Avill be regarded as of some interest 
by students of all classes. I have also endeavoured to apply 
the great lesson herein taught to a practical purpose. In 
my illustrations of the manners of the western monks, I have 
taken the liberty to indulge the bias of early association ; but 
if this has been done to too great an extent, with all submis- 
siveness 1 crave the reader's pardon. 

A residence of twenty years in Ceylon, and several thou- 
sands of hours spent with the palm-leaf in my hand and the 
ex-priest of Budha by my side, to assist me in cases of diffi- 
culty, entitle me to claim attention to my translations as a 
faithful transcript of the original documents. Further than 
this, I speak of my ability for the undertaking with sincere 
diffidence. During my residence in Ceylon, I was not con- 
nected with any scholastic institution ; I resided, for the most 
part, in the midst of the native population, and had to attend 
to the usual engagements of a missionary, in preaching, ex- 
amining native schools, visiting the sick, instructing the people 
from house to house, distributing tracts, and preparing other 
publications for the press, which left me no leisure for literary 
pursuits not immediately connected with my position. Since 
my return to England, about two years ago, I have been in- 
cessantly engaged in the work of the ministry, scarcely a day 
having passed over, in which I have not had either to preach 
or to deliver an address. It is, therefore, out of my poAver to 
make any pretension to western learning or general erudition. 
To add to my other disadvantages, my residence is in a village, 
where I have access to no public library ; and I have had no 


literary friend whom I could ask to correct my MSS. or with 
whom I could consult in cases of perplexity. I am aware 
that the apologies of authors sometimes mean, that they do 
not consider the work they are publishing to be a fair specimen 
of their real ability ; but disclaiming this idea, and willing to 
be corrected wherein I am wrong, as it is my wish to know 
and teach the truth, I mention these circumstances that my 
defects may not be charged to negligence, when they are the 
result of necessity. 

In my illustrations of Budhism 1 have not received much 
assistance from any European author, with the exception of 
the late Hon. George Turnour, translator of the Mahawanso, 
and the Rev. D. J. Gogerly, General Superintendant of the 
Wesleyan Mission in South Ceylon, who has been pronounced, 
by competent authority, to be the best Pali scholar in exist- 
ence, and whose intellectual powers I have long regarded with 
the most profound veneration. When I first determined upon 
making myself acquainted with this extensive system, there 
were two courses open before me ; either to commence the study 
of Pali (the language in which the most sacred records of the 
Budhists were originally written), or to content myself with 
the more mediate authority of the Singhalese. The former 
course would have been the most satisfactory, if I could have 
assured myself of the time and assistance that would have 
been requisite ; but as it appeared to me probable that I should 
in this way be able to study only detached parts of the system, 
which would not have fulfilled the principal design I had in 
view, I resolved upon continuing my Singhalese studies, and 
by this means have succeeded in forming an outline of the 
most prominent features of the religion taught by Gotama. 


I would not, for a moment, depreciate the more honourable 
labours of those who have chosen the arduous task of studying 
the system in the language in which it was originally promul- 
gated. I am like one who has met with individuals that have 
visited some Terra Incognita, and are able to describe it ; they 
have presented before me their stores of information, and 
I have examined them with all the accumen I possess ; and 
the result of my scrutiny is recorded in these pages. But 
they who study the original canon may be regarded as actually 
entering the land, and winning here and there a portion of 
territory more or less extensive ; and by and bye the whole 
region will be gained ; when the initiatory labours I am now 
pursuing will be forgotten, as they will have been succeeded 
by more authoritative investigations. Nevertheless, in the 
present state of our knowledge of Budhism, authentic trans- 
lations from the more modern languages are of great import- 
ance ; and they have an additional interest, peculiar to them- 
selves, as they reveal the sentiments, and illustrate the man- 
ners, of the present race of priests. The writings of the Sin- 
ghalese authors abound Avith quotations from the Pali, of 
which language they have a competent knowledge ; and as 
they regard the works they translate or paraphrase as a divine 
record, we have every reason to believe that a correct idea 
of the original code may be gained through this medium. 

As some of the names herein inserted have never previously 
been printed in English, I trust that the oriental scholar will 
forgive a want of uniformity in the spelling. It will be 
noticed that some of the words have a Sanskrit, and others a 
Pali or a Singhalese, form. I have endeavoured to avoid this 


confusion, but have not succeeded to the extent that is to be 
desired * There are slight discrepancies in some of the dates ; 
but in each case I have followed the author whose work I 
was translating. 

I send forth my treatise to the world, aware of its numerous 
imperfections, but cheered by the consciousness of integrity in 
its preparation ; and I ask for no higher reward than to be an 
humble instrument in assisting the ministers of the cross in 
their combats with this master error of the world, and in 
preventing the spread of the same delusion, under another 
guise, in regions nearer home. 


Hebden Bridge, Near Halifax, 
May 1st, 1850. 

* I have been under the necessity of reading some of the proof-sheets in 
the railway carriage, which will account for some oversights. The reader 
is requested to correct the following, in addition to the errors inserted in the 
errata :— Page 190, line 18, for Tabular Raica read Tabula Ilaica ; page 292, 
line 40, for nirwiwa read nirwuna, and dele the space between dharmma and 
bhisamaya ; page 308, Ime 4, for facultives read faculties ; page 379, line 28, 
for by rend of; page 386, line 16, for intelllgibiles read intelligibilis ; page 
387, line 18, for interiorum read interiorcm ; page 388, after the u-ord things, 
line 3, insert as a note, " Morell's History of J*Iodern Philosophy ;" page 389, 
Knes 27 and 28, /or delusion read illusion; and for anhatamisra read and- 


Preface v. 



The Laws and REorLAXioxs of the Priesthood 6 

Names and Titles 10 

The Noviciate 17 

Ordination 4i 

Celibacy ^7 

Poverty ^2 

Mendicancy 70 

The Diet 92 

Sleep 106 

The Tonsure 109 


The Habit 114 

The Residence 129 



Obedience 138 


The Exercise of Discipline 144 


Miscellaneous Regulations 148 


The Order of Nuns 159 

The Sacred Books 166 


Modes of Worship, Ceremonies, and Festivals 198 

Meditation 243 

Ascetic Rites and Supernatural Powers 252 


NiRWANA ; ITS Paths and Fruition 280 

The Modern Priesthood 309 

The Voice of the Past 346 


The Prospects of the Future 427 



About two thousand years before the thunders of Wycliffe were 
rolled against the mendicant orders of the west, Gotama Budha 
commenced his career as a mendicant in the east, and established a 
religious system that has exercised a mightier influence upon the 
world than the doctrines of any other uninspired teacher, in any age 
or country. The incidents of his life are to be found in the sacred 
books of the Budhists, which are called in Pali, the language in 
which they are written, Pitakattayan, from pitakan, a basket or 
chest, and tayo, three, the text being divided into three great classes. 
The instructions contained in the first class, called Winaya, were 
addressed to the priests ; those in the second class, Sutra, to the 
laity ; and those in the third class, Abhidharmma, to the dewas and 
brahmas of the celestial worlds. There is a commentary, called the 
Atthakatha, which until recently was regarded as of equal authority 
with the text. The text was orally preserved until the reign of the 
Singhalese monarch Wattagamani, who reigned from b. c. 104 to 
B. c. 76, when it was committed to writing in the island of Ceylon. 
The commentary was written by Budhagosha, at the ancient city 
of Anuradhapura, in Ceylon, a. d. 420. In this interval there was 
ample space for the invention of the absurd legends that are inserted 
therein relative to Budha and his immediate disciples, as we may 
learn from the similar stories that were invented relative to the 
western saints, in a period less extended. 

The father of Gotama Budha, Sudhodana, reigned at Kapilawastu, 
on the borders of Nepaul ; and in a garden near that city the future 
sage was born, b. c. 624. At the moment of his birth he stepped 


lupon the ground, and after looking around towards tlie four quarters, 
(the four half-quarters, above, and below, without seeing any one 
'in any of these ten directions who was equal to himself, he 
exclaimed, " Aggo hamasmi lokassa; jettho hamasmi lokassa ; 
settho hamasmi lokassa ; ayamantimajati; natthidani punabbhawo ; 
/ I am the most exalted in the world ; I am chief in the world ; I 
am the most excellent in the world ; this is my last birth ; hereafter 
there is to me no other existence." Upon his person were certain 
signs that enabled the soothsayers to foretell that he would become 
a recluse, preparatory to his reception of the supreme Budhaship. 
Five days after his birth he received the name of Sidhartta, but he 
is more commonly known by the name of Sakya or Gotama, both 
of which are patronymics. When five months old he sat in the air, 
Avithout any support, at a ploughing festival. AVhen sixteen years 
of age he was married to Yasodhara, daughter of Suprabudha, who 
reigned at Koli. The father of the predicted Budha having heard 
that it would be by the sight of four signs — decrepitude, sickness, a 
dead body, and a recluse — he would be induced to abandon the 
world, commanded that these objects should be kept away from the 
places to which he usvially resorted ; but these precautions Avere all 
in vain. One day, when proceeding to a garden at some distance 
from the palace, he saw an old man, whose trembling limbs were 
supported by a staff. Attracted by the sight, he asked his charioteer 
if he himself should ever be similarly feeble, and when he was 
told it was the lot of all men, he returned to the palace disconsolate. 
Four months afterwards he saw a leper, presenting an appearance 
utterly loathsome. Again, after the elapse of a similar period he 
saw a dead body, green with corruption, with worms creeping out 
of the nine apertures. •'' And a year after the sight of the aged man 
he saw a recluse proceeding along the road in a manner that 
indicated the possession of an inward tranquillity ; modest in his 
deportment, his whole appearance was strikingly decorous. Having 

* The text is almost a literal parallelism to the words of the old ballad. 

" On looking up, on looking down, 
She saw a dead man on the ground ; 
And from his nose, imto his chin, 
The worms crawl' d out, the worms crawl' d in. 

'* Then she mito the parson said, 
Shall I be so when I am dead, 
Oh yes ! oh yes ! the parson said, 
You will be so when you are dead." 


learnt from his charioteer the character of this interesting object, 
he commanded him to drive on rapidly to the garden, where he 
remained until sunset, in unbounded magnificence, a vast crowd of 
attendants ministering to his pleasure, amidst strains of the most 
animating music. In the course of the day a messenger arrived to 
announce that the princess had been delivered of a son. This was 
the last occasion on which he engaged in revelry. On his return 
to the city, the most beautiful attendants at the palace took up their 
instruments, upon which they played in their most skilful manner, 
but the mind of the prince wandered away to other objects ; and 
when they saw that they could not engage his attention they ceased 
to play, and fell asleep. The altered appearance of the sleeping 
covu-tesans excited additional contempt for the pleasures of the 
world ; as some of them began to gnash their teeth, whilst others 
unwittingly put themselves in unseemly postures, and the garments 
of all were in disorder, the splendour of the festive hall seemed to 
have been at once converted into the loathsomeness of a sepulchre. 
Roused by these appearances, Sidhartta called for his favourite 
charger, and having first taken a peep at his son from the threshold 
of the princess's apartment, who was asleep at the time with her 
arm aroimd the babe, he retired from the city, and when he had 
arrived at a convenient place assumed the character of a recluse. 
,In the forest of Uruwela he remained six years, passing through a 
Icourse of ascetic discipline ; but as the austerities he practised led 
/to no beneficial result, he reduced his daily allowance of food to a 
pepperpod, or some equivalent minimum, until his body was greatly 
attenuated, and one night he fell senseless to the ground from ex- 
haustion. After this he went to another part of the forest, and 
under a bo-tree, near which Budha Gaya was afterwards built, 
received the supreme Budhaship. 

In births innumerable, previous to his present state of existence 
as a man, he had set the office of a budha before him as the object 
of his ambition ; and in all the various states of existence through 
which he passed, animal, human and divine, had accomplished 
some end, or exercised some virtue, that better fitted him for its 
reception. Whilst under the bo-tree he was attacked by a formid- 
able host of demons ; but he remained tranquil, like the star in the 
midst of the storm, and the demons, when they had exerted their 
utmost power without effect, passed away like the thunder-cloud 
retiring from the orb of the moon, causing it to appear in greater 

B 2 


beauty. At the tenth hour of the same night, he attained the 
wisdom by which he knew the exact circumstances of all the beings 
that have ever existed in the infinite worlds ; at the twentieth hour 
he received the divine eyes by which he had the power to see all 
things within the space of the infinite systems of worlds as clearly 
as if they were close at hand ; and at the tenth hour of the follow- 
ing morning, or the close of the third watch of the night, he attained 
the knowledge by which he was enabled to understand the sequence 
of existence, the cause of all sorrow and of its cessation. The 
object of his protracted toils and numerous sacrifices, carried on 
incessantly through myriads of ages, was now accomplished. By 
having become a Budha he had received a power by which he 
could perform any act whatever, and a wisdom by which he could 
see perfectly any object, or understand any truth, to which he 
chose to direct his attention. 

At this time he began the exercise of his ministry, announcing 
himself as the teacher of the three worlds, wiser than the wisest, 
higher than the highest. The places near which he principally 
resided were Benares, Rajagaha, Wesali, and Sewet ; but he visited 
many other parts of India, and is said to have proceeded as far as 
Ceylon. The dewas and brahmas were also included among his 
auditors, as he occasionally visited the celestial worlds in which 
they reside. The wonders that he performed were of the most 
marvellous description ; but in those days the possession of super- 
natural power was a common occurrence, and there were thousands 
of his disciples who could, with the utmost ease, have overturned 
the earth or arrested the course of the sun. At the age of eighty 
years he died, near Kusinara, which is supposed by some to be in 
Assam, and by others near Delhi. After the burning of his body, 
his relics were preserved, and became objects of worship to his 

According to the doctrines propounded by Gotama Budha, there 
are innumerable systems of worlds, called sakwalas, which attain 
their prime, and then decay and are destroyed, at periods regularly 
recurring, and by agencies that are equally regular in the manner 
of their operation. Upon the earth there are four great continents, 
which do not communicate with each other, except in specified 
cases. In the centre of the earth is an immense mountain, called 
Maha Meru, around and above the summit of which are the dewa 
and brahma lokas, the abode of those beings who in their different 


states of existence have attained a superior degree of merit. Within 
the earth is a material fire, the abode of those who possess a decided 
preponderance of demerit. Neither the one state nor the other is of 
permanent duration ; though it may extend to a period immensely 
great, it is not infinite. 

The Budhas are beings who appear after intervals of time incon- 
ceivably vast. Previous to their reception of the Budhaship, they 
pass through countless phases of being ; at one time receiving birth 
as a dewa, and at another as a frog, in which they gradually accu- 
mulate a greater degree of merit. In this incipient state they are 
called Bodhisatwas. In the birth in which they become Budha 
they are always of woman born, and pass through infancy and 
youth like ordinary beings, imtil at a prescribed age they abandon 
the world and retire to the wilderness, where, after a course of 
ascetic observance, at the foot of a tree they receive the supernatural 
powers with which the office is endowed. But their greatest distinc- 
tion and highest glory is, that they receive the wisdom by which 
they can direct sentient beings to the path that leads to nirwana, or 
the cessation of existence. At their death, they cease to exist ; 
they do not continue to be Budhas, nor do they enter upon any 
other state of being. Expositions of the doctrines of Budha, whe- 
ther orally delivered or written in books, are called bana, or the 
Word ; and the system itself is called dharmma, or the Truth. 

According to Budhism, there is no Creator, no being that is self- 
existent and eternal. All sentient beings are homogeneous. The 
difference between one being and another is only temporary, and 
results from the difi"erence in their degrees of merit. Any being 
whatever may be a candidate for the Budhaship ; but it is only by 
the uniform pursuit of this object throughout innumerable ages that 
it can be obtained. 

The power that controls the universe is karma, literally action ; 
consisting of kusala and akusala, or merit and demerit. There is 
no such monad as an immaterial spirit, but at the death of any 
being, the aggregate of his merit and demerit is transferred to some 
other being, which new being is caused by the karma of the 
previous being, and receives from that karma all the circumstances 
of its existence. Thus, if the karma be good, the circumstances are 
favourable, producing happiness, but if it be bad, they are unfa- 
I'ourable, producing misery. 

The manner in which being first commenced cannot now be 


ascertained. The cause of the continuance of existence is ignorance, 
from which merit and demerit are produced, whence comes con- 
sciousness, then body and mind, and afterwards the six organs of 
sense. Again, from the organs of sense comes contact ; from 
contact, desire ; from desire, sensation ; from sensation, the cleaving 
to existing objects ; from this cleaving, reproduction ; and from 
reproduction, disease, decay, and death. Thus, like the revolutions 
of a wheel, there is a regular succession of death and birth, the 
moral cause of which is the cleaving to existing objects, whilst the 
instrumental cause is karma. It is therefore the great object of all 
beings who would be released from the sorrows of successive birth 
to seek the destruction of the moral cause of continued existence, 
that is to say, the cleaving to existing objects, or evil desire. It is 
possible to accomplish this destruction, by attending to a prescribed 
course of discipline, which results in an entrance to one of the four 
paths, with their fruition, that lead, by different modes, to the 
attainment of nirwana. They in whom evil desire is entirely 
destroyed are called rahats. The freedom from evil desire ensures 
the possession of a miraculous energy. At his death the rahat 
invariably attains nirwana, or ceases to exist. 

But this review must be regarded as containing only a brief sum- 
mary of some of the principal doctrines of Budhism, intended to 
assist the reader of the following pages ; the system is so vast and 
complicated, that many volumes must be written before it can 
receive a perfect elucidation. 


About two months after the prince Sidhartta had attained the 
dignity of a supreme Budha, he went to the city of Benares, and 
there delivered a discourse, by which Kondanya, and afterwards 
four other ascetics, were induced to become his disciples. From 
that period, whenever he preached, multitvides of men and women 
embraced his doctrines, and took upon themselves certain obliga- 
tions, by which they declared themselves to be prawarjita, or to 
have renounced the world. From time to time rules were made, 
and afterwards enlarged or modified, and exceptions allowed, by 
which the code was gradually completed. It is evident that all 


laws referring to untried situations and circumstances must arise in 
this manner ; and though the Budhists maintain that their founder 
decUired at an early period in his career that this would be his rule, 
the Statement was most probably invented to avoid the imputation 
that might otherwise have been made against his omniscience. It 
is necessary to remember that these modifications took place, or the 
student of Budhism will meet with many anomalies for which he 
cannot account. 

Milinda, the king of Sagal, when conversing with the priest 
Nagasena, objected to the mode in which Budha instituted the 
priestly discipline, and said, " If the rishis, by their own intuitive 
knowledge, were able to tell at once the nature of all diseases, and 
to prescribe remedies for them, why did not Budha, who by his 
divine eyes must have seen beforehand the faults of his disciples, 
forbid the commission of such and such things previous to their 
occurrence ?" Nagasena replied that it was forseen by Budha, at 
the commencement, that there were 150 precepts it would be proper 
to enforce ; but he reflected thus, " If I at once enforce the 
observance of all these precepts, the people will say, ' In this religion 
there are a great number of things that it is necessary to observe ; it is 
indeed a most difficult thing to be a priest of Budha,' and be afraid ; 
those who might think of becoming priests will hesitate ; they will 
not listen to my words ; they will not learn my precepts ; they will 
despise them, and thus be born in a place of torment. It will 
therefore be better, when a fault has been committed, to issue a 
precept forbidding it to be repeated." At subsequent periods, nine 
kelas (each kela containing ten millions), one hundred and eighty- 
five lacs, and thirty-six precepts, were promulgated by Budha.* 

The manner in which the code was gradually perfected may be 
learnt from the circumstances under which the precept relative to 
continence arrived at the state in which it was promulgated in its 
complete form. There was a priest named Sudinna,%vho was so- 
licited by his mother-in-law to lie with the woman who was his 
wife previous to his embracing the life of an ascetic, that there 

* Milinda Prasna : a work in Pali, of which there is a Sijighalese transla- 
tion, that contains an account of conversations that took place between 
Miliiida, kin<>- of Sagal, supposed to be the Sangala of the Greeks, and Naga- 
sena, a Budhist priest, a short time previous to the commencement of the 
Christian era. In the following chapters, whenever the name of Ndgasena, 
is introduced, it is to be miderstood that the information is taken liom this 


might be a rightful heir to the family possessions. At that time 
there appears to have been no law prohibiting such a course ; but 
when Sudinna yielded to the solicitations by which he was assailed, 
and was afterwards led, from a conviction that he had done wrong, 
to declare to his fellow priests what had taken place, Budha, after 
reproving him for his conduct, enacted the following law, and 
declared that it was universally binding upon those who would 
renounce the world. " Yo pana bhikkhu methunan dhamman 
patiseweyya parajiko hoti asanwaso : What priest soever shall have 
intercourse with a woman is overcome and excluded." Under the 
plea that intercourse with women alone was prohibited by this law, 
another priest acted improperly in a forest frequented by monkeys, so 
that it became necessary to introduce the clause " antamaso tiratcha- 
nagatayapi : Even with an animal." At a subsequent period, some 
priests of Wajji, without a formal renunciation of asceticism, were 
guilty of improper conduct. Though they then laid aside their 
robes, yet, as they met with many afflictions in the world, such as 
the loss of relatives, they requested readmission to the priesthood. 
This request was not granted ; but a clause was added to the form 
of prohibition, by which any priest who was unable to maintain a 
state of continence might receive permission to become a laic, 
without any bar to his readmission to the priesthood at a future 
period, if he so willed it. The entire prohibition was then to this 
effect : " Any bhikkhu who has engaged to live according to the 
laws given to the priesthood, if he shall, without having made con- 
fession of his weakness and become a laic, hold intercourse with a 
female of what kind soever, is overcome and excluded." * 

Of the five sections into which the Winaya Pitaka is divided, the 
first and second, Parajika and Pachiti, contain a code of ordinances 
relative to priestly crimes and misdemeanors ; the third and fourth, 
Maha Waga and Chula Waga, miscellaneous rules and regulations, 
relative to ordination, the ceremony called wass, &c. ; and the fifth, 
Pariwanapata, contains a recapitulation of the preceding books. 

The precepts and prohibitions contained in the Parajika and 
Pachiti, 227 in number, are collected together, apart from the de- 
tails and explanations by which they are accompanied, in a work 
called Patimokkhan, or in Singhalese, Pratimoksha, which is to be 
recited twice every month in an assembly of priests consisting of 

* Gogerly's Essay on Buclhism, Joui-n. Ceylon Branch Royal As. Soc. 
i. 85. 


not fewer than four persons. The subjects of investigation are 
arranged in the following order: — 1. Parajika, four in number, 
referring to crimes that are to be punished by permanent exclusion 
from the priesthood. 2. Sanghadisesa, thirteen in number, that 
require suspension and penance, but not permanent exclusion. 
3. Aniyata-dhamma, two in number, that involve exclusion, sus- 
pension, or penance, according to circumstances. 4. Nissagiya- 
pachittiya-dhamma, thirty in number, requiring forfeiture of such 
articles as the priests are permitted to possess. 5. Pachittiya- 
dhamma, ninety-two in nvmiber, requiring confession and absolu- 
tion. 6. Patidesani-dhamma, four in number, involving reprimand. 

7. Sekhiya-dhamma, seventy-five in number, containing various 
prohibitions, and inculcating certain observances and proprieties. 

8. Adhikarana-samata-dhamma, seven in number, the rules to be 
observed in conducting judicial investigations relative to the con- 
duct of the priests."^' 

The four crimes that involve permanent exclusion from the priest- 
hood are sexual intercourse, theft, murder, and a false profession] 
of the attainment of rahatship ; but as the whole of the rules con- 
tained in the Patimokkhan appear in thefollowing chapters, under 
the heads to which they respectively belong, it will not be neces- 
sary to insert them in the order in which they are recited in the 
bi-monthly convention of ecclesiastics. The various rules and ob- 
ligations of the priest have been divided into an almost numberless 
array of classes ; but their tedious minuteness must ever tend to 
deter any one from prosecuting their examination, who does not 
trust in the three gems as an object of religious confidence. 

There is, however, one division, called the Teles-dhutanga, from 
teles, thirteen, dhuta, destroyed, and anga, ordinance, meaning the 
thirteen ordinances by which the cleaving to existence is destroyed, 
too important to be omitted. These ordinances enjoin the following 
observances on the part of the priest by whom they are kept. 1. To 
reject all garments but those of the meanest description. 2. To 
possess only three garments. 3. To eat no food but that which 
has been received under certain restrictions. 4. To call at all 
houses alike when carrying the alms-bowl. 5. To remain on one 
seat, when eating, until the meal be finished. 6. To eat only from 

* Gogcrly's Essay on the Laws of the Priesthood, Ceylon Friend, 1839. 
Nearly the whole of my inforniation relative to the contents of the Pati- 
mokkhan has been derived from this source. 


one vessel. 7. To cease eating Avhen certain things occur. 8. To 
reside in the forest. 9. To reside at the foot of a tree. 10. To 
reside in an open space. 11. To reside in a cemetery. 12. To take 
any seat that may be provided. 13. To refrain from lying down 
under any circumstance whatever. The three principal observ- 
ances are the 4th, 5th, and 10th ; and he who observes these three 
may be said to practise the whole series. The entire number may 
be kept by priests, eight by priestesses, twelve by novices, seven by 
female novices, and two by the lay devotees called upasakas, whether 
male or female. Thus there are in all forty-two divisions. The 
five observances that the priestesses are forbidden to keep are the 
7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th; the last three cannot be observed by 
them under any circumstances, as it would be highly improper 
for the priestess to remain in a solitary place. The novice may 
keep all except the 2nd. The lay devotee can keep only the 5th 
and 6th.* 

Nearly the whole of these observances are included in the code 
that is known among the Chinese by the name of Chi eul theou tho 
king, or The Sacred Book of the Twelve Observances, quoted in 
the San tsang fa sou, lib. xliv. p. 10. Cf. Vocabulaire Pentaglotte, 
sect, xlv.f 


The priests of Budha have received various names, of which the 
following are the principal: — 1. Srawakas, from the root sru, to 
hear, answering to the aKovariKoi of the Greeks. 2. Sarmanas, from 
srama, the performance of asceticism, answering to the aaKrirai, 
exercisers, of the ancient church. By the Chinese the word is 
written Cha men and Sang men, and is said by Klaproth to mean 
" celui qui restreint ses pensees, ou celui qui s'efforce et se re- 
streint." It is probable that the epithet Samanean, as applied to 
the religious system of Tartary, is derived from the same word. 
It is to the priests of Budha that Strabo (lib. xv. cap. i.) refers, 

* Milanda Prasna : Wisudhi Margga Sanne. 

t Eoe Koue Ki, ou Relation des Iloyaumes Bouddhiques : Voyage dans 
la Tartaric, dans I'Afghanistan et dans I'lnde, excciite a la fin du ive Siecle, 
par Chy fa hian. Traduit du Chinois et commente par M. Abel Remusat. 
Ouvrage i^osthume, revu, comjilete, et atigmente d'eclaircissements nou- 
veaux, par MM. Klaproth. et Landresse : Paris, 1836. 


when he speaks of the Garmanas of India. By Clemens Alexan- 
drinus (Stromat. lib. i.) they are called Sarmanas, though he after- 
wards mentions the followers of Butta (Budha) as belonging to a 
separate community. In other works of the fathers they are called 
Scmnoi. Porphyrins (De Abst. lib. iv.) calls them Samanaeani. 
3. Theros, or elders, answering to the D'^jpT'^' of the Old Testa- 
ment and the 7rp£(7/3v7-£poi of the New. 4. Bhikshus, or in Pali, 
bhikkhu, from bhiksha, to beg, literally a mendicant. The bhikshu 
is said to be so called " because of the fear he manifests of the 
repetition of existence ; because he goes to seek his food as a 
mendicant ; because he is arrayed in shreds and rags ; and because 
he avoids the practice of whatever is evil." The eastern etymo- 
logists, with their usual ingenuity, find all these ideas in the root 
of the word, either by addition, elision, or transposition. When 
Budha addressed the priests, it was usually by this appellation. It 
is said by M. Abel Remusat that the Chinese word Pi khieou " is 
the equivalent of the Sanskrit bhikchou, mendiant." They are 
called in Tibetan, dGe slong. " When the four rivers fall into the 
sea they no longer retain the name of river : when men of the four 
castes become Samaneans, they receive the common name of sons 
of Sakya (synonymous with bhikchou). The Tsun ching king calls 
them Pi thsiu (the name of a shrub that grows upon the Hima- 
layas)." t 

In Ceylon, the novices, as -well as the priests who have not re- 
ceived ordination, are called ganinnanses, from gana, an assemblage 
or association ; and the superior priests are called terunnanses, 
from the Pali thero, an elder. Their collective name is mahunanse, 
literally, the great one. In the books they are represented as being 
addressed by the name of ayusmat, ancient, venerable. When any 
one embraced the priesthood he was said to be prawarjika, from 
Avraja, to abandon, one who has abandoned the world, answering 
to a name of the ancient monks, aTrora^a^tvoi, apotactates, re- 
nounccrs. In Nepaul the priests are called bandaya (whence also 
the Chinese bonze), which, in Sanskrit signifies a person entitled 
to reverence, from the word bandana. They are there divided into 

* In like manner, Arab. Sheikh, an old man, and then " chief of a tribe ;" 
also Ital. Signor.Fr. Seigneur, Span. Senor.Engl. Sii-, all of which come from 
the Lat. Senior, elder; also, Germ. Graf, count, is pp. i. q. graw, krawo, 
grey-headed. Gesenius, sub voce. 

t llelation des lloyaumcs Bouddhiques, p. 60, quoted from San tsang fa 
sou, liv. xxii. p. 9. 


four orders; bhlkshu, or mendicants; srawaka, or readers; chailaka, 
or scantily robed; and arhanta, or arhata, adepts.* Among the 
Burmese the priests, or talapoins, of the superior order, are called 
ponghis, and of the inferior pazens ; they are all subordinate to 
the zarado, who resides in the capital.f 

It has been doubted whether Budhism allows of any such dis- 
tinction as that which is inferred in the use of the words clerus 
and laicus ; but all arguments founded upon the meaning of terms, 
when these terms can be used in a sense different to their primitive 
sio-nification, or when that signification has not been authoritatively 
defined, are inconclusive. Thus the word clergy, though we allow 
that it is derived from KXnpog, may either mean that the ministers 
of the church were chosen by lot, or that they were the lot and 
heritage of the Lord. The word priest is generally supposed to 
be derived, through the Saxon preost, from the Greek TrpsirftvTepoc, 
an elder, but by others it is said to be an ancient Saxon word, in 
use before the introduction of Christianity ; and if we look away 
from its original meaning to its conventional use, it may represent 
the sacerdos of the Latins, the lepevQ of the Greeks, the "^Tl-j of the 
Hebrews, or the minister of any other religion ; and its significa- 
tion will be altered according to the office that it represents. The 
rites of religion could only be performed among the Greeks and 
Romans by members of the sacerdotal class ; but these persons were 
not thereby incapacitated, by any positive law, from engaging in 
duties and offices that by ourselves would be regarded as utterly 
unsuited to the clerus. But this is the less remarkable when other 
circumstances are taken into the account ; as their duty consisted 
principally in the performance of certain ceremonies, or the in- 
structing of others in their proper mode of observance, whilst no 
traces are presented of their publicly addressing the people upon 
moral subjects. Hence the importance of the position maintained 
by the philosophers, who in some measure supplied this defect ; 
but their auditors were comparatively few ; and as he who appeared 
to understand the deepest mysteries would be regarded as the most 
wise, there was a continual tendency in all the schools to dwell 
upon subjects that bewilder, rather than upon those that are con- 
nected with practical instruction. The sramanas of Budha unite 

* Hodgson's Illustrations of the Literature and Religion of the Buddhists : 
Seramporc, 1841. 

t Sangarmano's Burmese Empire : Rome, 1833. 


the characters of priest and philosopher, as they were presented 
among the nations of classic antiquity ; but, from their possession 
of a record that they consider to be divine, the reverse of that which 
took place among the ancients of the west is presented ; individual 
speculation is almost entirely discovmtenanced, and the bare reading 
of the record too commonly usurps the place of hortatory teaching. 

The apostle Paul tells us that the priest is " one who is ordained 
for men in things j^ertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts 
and sacrifices for sins,"' Heb. v. 1 ; but this definition is confessedly 
inapplicable to any order of men among the Budhists, as the system 
knows nothing whatever of " sacrifices for sins.'" 

When compared with the priest of Romanism there is a greater 
resemblance between the two orders. Both are separated from the 
world; both profess to instruct the people ; and both perform cere- 
monies that are supposed to confer merit upon those in whose name, 
or in whose presence they are conducted. I have therefore retained 
the word priest to designate the sramanas of Budha ; they are 
monks as to the economy of their own lives, but priests as to the 
world without ; clerici regulares. 

The innovations made by St. Francis in the monastic institute 
were of great importance. Until that period the monks had been 
insulated from the world. Even the pastoral duties were forbidden 
them. It was ordained by Cone. Pictav. c. 11, that no monk should 
perform the work of a parochial minister, i. e. " to baptise, to 
preach, and to hear confession." He was not allowed (Cone. Lat. i.) 
to visit the sick. But when Francis received the impression that it 
was his duty to renounce the possession of gold, silver, and money ; 
to have neither wallet, nor satchel, nor bread ; to travel without a 
staff, and without shoes, and with a simple tunic ; he was at the 
same time moved to the resolution to preach repentance and the 
kingdom of God. When monachism commenced, the ascetic re- 
nounced all trust in the vicarious acts of a more favoured order ; 
he himself worked out his own salvation ; he was himself a priest, 
though without investiture or ordination ; and it was not until the 
monks had degenerated that individuals sought admission to the 
priesthood, and combined two offices that were at first distinct. 
But the rule of Francis did not contemplate merely the occasional 
election of a monk to the pastorate or episcopate, or the appoint- 
ment of an ordained abbot to rule over " the church in the house" 
of some separate fraternity ; his mendicant followers were thrown 



upon the world ; from it they were to receive their subsistence ; 
and it was only by the personal activity of each individual member 
that the order could be preserved in its integrity. In the history 
of Budhism there are evidences of a similar departure from the first 
principles of asceticism ; but when it commenced, or in what manner 
it was effected, cannot now be ascertained. It appears to have been 
the original intention that the sramana, during the greater part of 
the year, should reside in solitude ; but the injunction to carry the 
alms-bowl to the houses of the people would tend to produce an 
unfavourable consequence, as it would continually present to his 
mind the advantages of social existence, and tempt him to take up 
his residence as near the dwellings of men as was possible without 
an entire change of the system. Then, as he was dependent upon 
the people for every comfort he enjoyed, it was natural that he 
should endeavour to magnify his office, and place as immense a 
distance as j^ossible between himself and his supporters, by con- 
vincing them that whilst he received from them the temporal aid 
that he needed they Avere indebted to him, and the power with 
which he was officially clothed, for their present prosperity and for 
their expectation of a future reward. Thus, although he offered 
no sacrifice in the literal sense of the term, he became virtually 
invested with the character of a priest. This change in the eco- 
nomy of Budhism has been carried to so great an extent, that the 
true ascetic, or one who renounces the world for his own soul's 
good, without regarding the souls of others, is now almost un- 

There is undoubtedly a great difference between the sramana 
and the grahapati ; the receiver of alms, who by that recejstion 
confers merit, and the giver of alms, who by that gift exjjects to 
gain merit : the man who lives (to use a distinction of Pythagoras) 
vTTfp fvcrii', above nature, and him who lives cara (pvcrir, according 
to nature ; and the higher attainments of the systemcan only be 
acquired by one who has abandoned the world either in the present 
or some previous birth ; but the householder is not rejected as 
being without the pale of privilege, and is far from being classed 
among unbelievers. Even at the commencement of Budhism the 
bana was publicly recited, so that from the beginning a distinction 
must have existed between the teacher and the taught, which 
would cause the priest to be regarded as a mediator, or intervenient 
instrumentality, between the householder and the consequences of 


his demerit. The benefits received from listening to the bana were 
not prospective or conditional ; they were not dependent upon some 
new course of action that was to be pursued in consequence of this 
instruction : it was an opus operatvun ; and the householder retired 
to his home, after listening to the word, with the consciousness 
that he had thereby acquired merit, and that if he continued in the 
wise exercise of the privileges placed within his reach, without 
taking upoa himself the more arduous practices of the ascetic, he 
would be enabled to attain a reward that was worthy of his ambi- 
tion. We therefore conclude that Budhism has always recognised 
the two classes of mendicant and householder ; and that both the 
one and the other is regarded as recipient of the blessings it im- 
parts to its disciples. 

In the gospel there is a distinction between the clerus and laicus 
as to matters of discipline ; but the child, the woman, the slave, 
the lowest member of the church, whatever his condition, has an 
equal freedom of access to the throne of the heavenly grace with 
the mitred ecclesiastic or the most privileged priest, and may aspire 
to an equal inheritance of glory in the world to come. But in Bud- 
hism the distinction is more essential, as no one who has not in some 
state of existence, either present or past, observed the ordinances 
of asceticism, can obtain nirwana. This may be learnt from a con- 
versation that took place between the king of Sagal and Nagasena. 
One day, when Milinda was reclining upon his royal couch, reflect- 
ing upon religious subjects, he wondered how it was that, if house- 
holders could enter the paths leading to nirwana, any one should 
take the trouble to observe the Thirteen Ordinances, the practice 
of which is so exceedingly difficult ; and he therefore w^ent to 
Nagasena, that his doubts upon the subject might be removed. 
" Can the householder," said he, " attain nirwana ; he whose mind 
is occupied by (panchakama) that which is apparent to the five 
senses ; who lives in a fixed habitation, jorocreates children, enjoys 
possessions, uses ointments and perfumes, receives money, and 
puts on the crown adorned with jewels and gold? " Nagasena re- 
plied, " Not only one hundred but myriads of householders have 
attained nirwana. But as to the Thirteen Ordinances, it is a sub- 
ject most extensive ; however many things I might say relative to 
the religion of Budha they would all belong to them. As all the 
rain that falls runs into the rivers, and thence into the sea, so all 
that the most learned person might say relative to religion would 


be directed to them. All the knowledge I possess is included in 
them ; they are, in the most eminent degree, profitable, beautiful, 
and complete. At Sewet there were many myriads of upasakas, 
both male and female, who entered the paths, of whom 356,000 
entered the third path ; and at other places, when Budha preached 
different sutras, countless companies of men and dewas received the 
same privilege, all of whom were gihi, householders, and not pra- 
warjita, those who have abandoned or renounced the world." 
Milinda : — " Then to what purpose is it that men observe with so 
much strictness the Thirteen Ordinances, if they can enter the city 
of peace without it ? If a sick man can be cured by simples, he 
does not torture his body by taking emetics or violent purgatives ; 
if the enemy can be warded off by a slight blow we do not use 
clubs or formidable weapons ; the high ladder is of no use if the 
tree can be ascended without it ; when a man can sleep soundly 
on the ground he need not seek a splendid couch and coverlets ; 
Avhen the fearless man can traverse the wilderness alone he does 
not require an armed escort ; he who can swim across the river or 
lake does not look out for rafts, boats, or bridges ; he who has 
food of his own need not, in order to satisfy his hunger, go begging 
from his friends or the rich, flattering them and running hither and 
thither ; if water can be procured from a natural fountain, it is to 
no purpose to dig wells or tanks : in like manner, if the house- 
holder, who enjoys worldly possessions, can also enjoy the pros- 
pect of nirwana, of what benefit are the Thirteen Ordinances ? " 
Nagasena : — " The Budhas have set forth twenty-eight advantages 
as connected with the observance of these rites : such as fearless- 
ness, protection, freedom from evil desire, the patient endurance of 
affliction, confirmed attachment to religion, an entrance into the 
paths, &c. When the Thirteen Ordinances are observed, there are 
eighteen virtues that are brought into exercise, such as, that the 
thought is extinguished, that this is mine, or me ; hatred is avoided ; 
much sleep is shunned ; no fixed habitation is required ; solitary 
meditation is exercised ; and there is opposition to all evil. There 
are also ten other virtues that must be possessed : such as faith or 
purity, great diligence, freedom from all that tends to deceive, res- 
pect for the precepts, equanimity. Sec. When the householder 
attains nirwana, it is because he has kept the Thirteen Ordinances 
in some former state of existence : just as the bowman, after learn- 
ing the science of archery in the hall of instruction and becoming 


perfect, then goes to the king and receives the reward of his skill. 
No one who has not observed the Thirteen Ordinances, either in 
the present birth or a former one, can enter the path that leads to 
the city of peace. , . . Men eat food that they may receive strength, 
take medicine that they may drive away disease, exercise friendship 
that they may secure assistance, enter a ship that they may cross 
the sea, and use flowers and perfumes that a fragrant smell may be 
emitted : the pupil who would receive instruction places himself 
under a preceptor ; he who would have honour seeks it from the 
king; and he who would have anything that he can wish for, gains 
possession of the magical jewel : in like manner, he who would re- 
ceive the full benefit of asceticism, practises the Thirteen Ordi- 
nances. As water for the nourishment of grain, fire for burning, 
food for imparting strength, withs for binding, women for conten- 
tion, water for removing thirst, treasure for independence, a ship 
for navigation, medicines for imparting health, a couch for repose, 
a place of refuge for safety, the king for protection, weapons for 
giving confidence, the preceptor for instruction, the mother for rear- 
ing children, the mirror for seeing the countenance, jewels for orna- 
ment, garments for clothing, scales for equality, the mantra for 
spells and charms, the lamp for dispelling darkness, and the pre- 
cept for restraining the disobedient ; so is an attention to the Thir- 
teen Ordinances for the nourishing of asceticism, the burning up of 
evil desire, &c."* 


For the rapidity of its early extension, and its subsequent popu- 
larity, Budhism is in a great measure indebted to the broad basis 
upon which admission to the priesthood has been placed ; and in 
this respect it stands in perfect contrast with the system to which 
it is the greatest antagonist. No one can become a Brahman, ex- 
cept by birth ; but the privileges of the ascetic are offered to all 
who will receive them upon the condition implied in their accept- 
ance, unless the candidate be diseased, a slave, a soldier, or unable 
to obtain the permission of his parents. This comprehensive rule 
has been disregarded ; but the system itself is not to be charged 

* Milinda Prasna. 



with the innovations that have been made in its original constitu- 
tion. The slave is inhibited from becoming a recluse ; but the 
name is not to be taken in its modern acceptation, as implying a 
state of degradation. The bar to admission does not arise from the 
inferiority of the condition, as even the oiitcast is received ; but as 
the peculium belongs to another, no slave is thought to have the 
right to place himself in a situation that may for ever deprive his 
master of his services. In the reign of Justinian (Nov. v. c. 2) 
slaves were allowed to enter convents without leave of their masters ; 
but among the Anglo-Saxons the candidate for ordination was 
requ.ired to prove that he was not of spurious or servile birth. 
That the priest should be free from disease has been generally 
insisted on in all ages. The Jews, in their comments upon Levit. 
xxi. 17, have enumerated 142 blemishes that produced unfitness to 
minister before the Lord. " Sacerdos integer sit," was a law of 
the Romans ; but among the ancients the disease or the blemish 
was not a bar to the reception of the office from its unsightliness 
alone ; it was regarded as unpropitious, and it was therefore said, 
" vitandus est," as it was supposed that it would render the sacrifice 
coming from such a source of no avail. This idea, though not 
expressed in the ritual, is entirely consonant with the Budhistical 

The novice is called a samanera, from sramana, an ascetic. He 
must be at least eight years of age, and must have received the 
consent of his parents to his abandonment of the world. He 
cannot receive upasampada, or ordination, until he is twenty years 
of age ; were even the office to be conferred on him by the proper 
authorities, and the ceremony to be performed according to the 
ritual, the proceedings would be invalid if the stipulated age was 
not attained. The novice is not regarded as a member of the 
sangha, or chapter ; he can perform any religious rite, but is not 
allowed to interfere in matters of discipline or government. But in 
China, ordination must be granted at an earlier period, as Bishop 
Smith states that he saw a little priest, about nine years of age, a 
pet of the abbot, who looked forward to the age of sixteen, " when 
he would have his head entirely shaven, and be inducted into the 
full privileges of the priesthood." '^*' 

The necessity of some law, imperatively stating the earliest age 
at which the obligations of the recluse can be taken, must be at 

* Smith's China. 


once apparent. Leo I. required the age of forty in monks before 
their consecration, and the same age was ordered by several 
councils. Pius I. recommended the twenty-fifth year, which was 
confirmed by the third council of Carthage. Synods of a more 
recent date have allowed vows of virginity to be taken as early as 
fourteen years of age in males, and twelve in females. The council 
of Trent recognises sixteen years as the age before which vows 
should not be taken.* Among the Anglo-Saxons, the vows of the 
nun were retarded until she had reached her twenty-fifth year. 
In the monasteries of the Greek church belonging to the rule of St. 
Basil, the male novices are not allowed to take the vows before the 
thirtieth, nor females before the fiftieth year. The mendicant 
orders are accused by Wycliff'e of endeavouring to seduce young 
children into their " rotten habit ;" and it was decreed by the parlia- 
ment that no scholar under eighteen years of age should be received 
into the community, f 

There are many circumstances that make the yoke of the sama- 
nera less onerous than that of the stricter communities among the 
western celibates. The vows are not in any case irrevocable ; and 
the constant intercourse that is of necessity kept up with the people, 
aff'ords opportunities of commvmion with the exterior world that are 
denied to the inmate of the high-walled monastery or the iron-barred 
convent. It must often cause the deepest sorrow, only passing 
away with the utter searing of every right affection or with life 
itself, Avhen the recluse has to reflect that by the step he has taken 
he has sent the barbed arrow into the heart of an affectionate 
mother, or stricken to premature age a father whose eye is ever 
filled with the gushing tear, as he looks around upon the social 
circle and sees that the place is vacant where the object of his 
brightest hopes once sat. Yet it was accounted as an additional 
merit by the Nicene doctors when the vow of celibacy was taken 
against the wish or advice of parents, or against their knowledge. | 
It was also regarded as an act of merit when the mother devoted 
her unconscious child to the service of the sanctuary, as in the case 
of Gregory Nazianzen, who, before his birth, was devoted to God by 
his mother Nonna. This was usually done by taking the child 
before the altar, and placing in its hands the book of the gospels ; 
but at a later period the parents wrapped the hands of their children 

* Elliott's Roman Catholicism. t Vaughan's Wycliffe. 

X Taylor's Ancient Christianity. 

c 2 


in the altar-cloth. By Cod. Just. i. 3, 55, parents were forbidden 
to hinder their children from becoming monks, if they so wished. 
Even among the Budhists, it sometimes occurs that a w"oman vows 
she will dedicate her son to the temple, should the reproach of her 
unfruitfulness be taken away ; and when the child afterwards 
received puts on the robe of a recluse, he may at first, and in his 
youth, be charmed by the honour he receives, so as to be more than 
reconciled to his situation ; and should there be, at a subsequent 
period, a painful sense of the constraint under which he lives, from 
a feeling of pride he may never utter to another the story of his 
woe, or take the liberty that is presented by the institute of returning 
for a time to the state of a laic. But in all such cases there will be 
the bearing of a burden that must greatly embitter existence ; and 
the spirit will become moody or morose, that under other circum- 
stances might have been cheerful as the lark at matins, or gentle 
as the lamb as it crops the grass of the mead. 

The samanera usually begins his connexion with the monastery 
by becoming a pupil in the school kept by the priest ; and by this 
means he gains an insight into the duties he will afterwards be 
required to perform. The priesthood is to be sought in order that 
existence may be overcome, and that nirwana, or the cessation of 
existence, may be obtained. It was declared by Nagasena that the 
benefits to be derived from embracing the priesthood are, the 
destruction of present and the avoiding of future sorrow, the ipre- 
venting of the occurrence of the birth arising from evil desire- and 
scepticism, and the attainment of nirwana. " This," said he, " is 
the end for which the ^^riesthood ought always to be sought ; but it 
is sometimes sought from a different intention, as the fear of kings 
or of robbers, or because of debt, or to obtain a livelihood." Who- 
ever would enter upon the course of discipline necessary for the 
attainment of this great object, must be assured that by the observ- 
ance of the prescribed rules of asceticism, the cleaving to existence, 
which is regarded as the source of all evil, will be extinguished. If 
possible, the novice must live in the same monastery as his preceptor^ 
bvit if not convenient, he may live in another place, at the distance 
of four, eight, or sixteen miles. AVhen he thus lives at a distance, 
he must rise early in the morning, perform what is necessary to be 
done at his own dwelling, then go to the monastery of his preceptor, 
and return the following day to his own abode. And when he 
cannot live within the distance of sixteen miles, he must learn as 


well as he can from his preceptor, and afterwards meditate at his 
leisure on the instruction he has received. In Ceylon, there are not 
at present any instances in which this privilege is accepted, as the 
samanera invariably resides at the monastery ; and from the com- 
mencement of his noviciate he is regarded as a priest. 

When the pupil becomes an accepted novice, it is required of 
him that he be careful as to the character of the monastery in which 
he intends to reside. There are eighteen kinds of places that it will 
be well for him to avoid : 1 . A large wihara (the monastery or 
temple in which the priests reside), as in such a place many persons 
will meet together, and there will be much talking ; the enclosure 
round the bo-tree not being swept, and no water brought either to 
drink or for bathing, these things will have to be done, and thus 
time will be lost ; the novice, after performing this, must go with 
the alms-bowl, but as he will have been preceded by others, the 
food intended for the priesthood will all have been given away. In 
a large wihara, the noise of the novices repeating their lessons will 
cause a disturbance. But if all the work be properly attended to, 
and there be nothing to distract, a large wihara may be chosen. 
2. A new wihara, as there will be much work to do, which if not 
done may cause the displeasure of the senior priests ; but if there 
should be others to do the work, so as to leave the novice free, he 
may remain in a new residence. 3. An old wihara, as it will 
require much reparation ; if this be not attended to, it will bring 
down the rebuke of the senior priests ; and if it be, it will leave no 
time for meditation. 4. A wihara near a high road, as stranger 
priests will be continually calling, who will require attention. 
5. A wihara near which there are many tanks and much water, as 
people will resort thither, and the disciples of the learned men con- 
nected with the court will come from the city to dye their garments, 
and will want fuel, vessels, and other things. 6. A wihara near 
which there is an abundance of herbs, as women will con-!C to 
gather them, singing all kinds of foolish songs, the hearing of which 
is as poison ; and though they should even not be singing, the voice 
of a woman heard in any way is an enemy to the ascetic. 7. A 
wihara near which there are many flowers, as there w'ill be the same 
danger. 8. A wihara near which there are many fruit-trees, such 
as mango, jambu, and jack, as people will come to ask for them, 
and if not given they will become angry or take them by force ; and 
when the priest walks to and fro at night, to subdue the mind, 


they will see and ridicule him. 9. A wihara that persons are 
accustomed to visit, such as Dakkhina-giri, Attikuchi-lena, Chetiya- 
giri, and Chittala-pabbata ; to these places the faithful resort that 
they may worship, because they were formerly the residences of 
rahats ; but the priest may dwell near these places, if he can make 
such arrangements as will enable him to be absent during the day, 
and return to them only at night. 10. A wihara near a city, as 
there will be many things to attract the eyes ; the women will not 
leave the road when they are met, and they will make a noise with 
their earthen vessels ; and the place will be resorted to by great 
men. 11. A wihara near which there is much fuel or timber for 
building, as women will come to gather the firewood and artisans 
to fell the trees ; at night, when they see the priest walking in the 
place of ambulation they will ridicule or otherwise molest him. 
12. A wihara near a rice-field, as the cidtivators will have to make 
the platform on which the oxen tread out the rice, and a disturbance 
will be caused. 13. A wihara near which cattle are accustomed to 
graze, as they will break into the rice-fields, and the owners will 
accuse the priests, and make complaints to the magistrates. 14. A 
wihara in which the resident priests are not on friendly terms with 
each other ; they will quarrel, and if told to be at peace, they will 
say that they never prospered since this rigid ascetic came who now 
gives his advice. 15, 16, 17. A wihara near a seaport, a river, or 
a forest ; the mariners will request assistance, and these men are 
not believers in the truth. 18. A wihara on the borders of a 
coimtry,* as the resident will be exposed to wars, will be now under 
one king, and then under another, and will be liable to be accounted 
as a spy. f 

All these places are to be avoided, as though they were inhabited 
by so many demons ; and the dangers arising from these non-human 
beings are represented as being by no means small. There was a 
priest residing in a forest, who one day hearing a female demon 
sing near'the door of his residence was (improperly) attracted to 
the place ; but when he came near she caught him and hurried him 
away that she might eat him. The priest insisting upon knowing 

* The monks of Christendom, on some occasions, manifested a different 
spu-it to that which is here inculcated. On the edge of Spahling Moor, in 
Yorkshu-e, there was a cell for two monks, whose employment was to guide 
travellers over the dreary waste upon which they here entered. Whilst one 
acted as a conductor, the other implored by prayer the protection of heaven 
for those who were exposed to the dangers of the road. 

t Wisudhi Margga Sannc. 


what she was about to do, she said that she had eaten many such 
priests as he, and that she should reckon it to be a great misfortune 
if the time should come when she would be unable to secure some 
member of the sacred community. 

The novice must choose a residence that is not far from the 
village to which he has to go to procure alms. Budha has said that 
it must not be more than four miles distant, nor nearer than the 
length of 500 bows. It must be a place easy of access ; free from 
dangers ; where the people offer no interruption ; at night subject 
to no noise ; at a distance from the hurry of the multitudes ; not 
infested by flies, musquitoes, or snakes, nor subject to an excess of 
wind or sun ; where the requisites of the priest can be obtained 
without difficulty ; and where there are superior priests to whom he 
can resort, that he may ask questions, and have his doubts solved. 

The place of residence having been chosen, the novice must 
declare his intention to a superior priest ; or he must take a robe, 
and after having shaved his head and bathed, give it to a priest, 
requesting to receive it from him again, that he may thus be able to 
commence his noviciate. He must then ask the priest to impart to 
him the tun-sarana, or three-fold protective formulary, which is as 
follows : — 

Budhang-saranang-gach'hami I take refuge in Budha. 

Dhammang-saranang-gach'hami I take refuge in the Truth. 

Sanghang-saranang-gach'hami I take refuge in the Associated 

or the same formulary may be repeated by himself; but in that case 
he must change the tig at the end of each word into m, and say 
Budham saranam, instead of Budhang saranang, &:c. -^ He must 
then repeat the dasa-sil, or the ten obligations. 

1 . Panatipataweramanisikkhapadangsamadiyami. 

2. Adinnadanaweramanisikkhapadangsamadiyami. 

3. Abrahmachariyaweramanisikkhapadangsamadiyami.- 

4. Musawadaweramanisikkhapadangsamadiyami. 

5. Suramerayamajjapamadatthanaweramanisikkhapadangsamadi- 


6. Wikalabhojanaweramanisikkhapadangsamadiyami. 

7. Nachagitawaditawisukadassanaweramanisikkhapadangsamadi- 

* Wisudhi Margga Sanue. 


8. Malagandhawilepanadharanamandanawibhusanattanawerama- 

9. Uch'hasayanamahasayanaweramanisikkhapadangsamadiyami. 
10. Jataruparajaiapatiggahanaweramanisikkhapadangsamadiyami. 

1. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids the 
taking of life. 

2. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids the 
taking of that which has not been given. 

3. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids sexual 

4. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids the 
saying of that which is not true. 

5. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids the use 
of intoxicating drinks, that lead to indifference towards religion. 

6. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids the 
eating of food after mid-day. 

7. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids attend- 
ance upon dancing, singing, music, and masks. 

8. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids the 
adorning of the body with flowers, and the use of perfumes and 

9. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids the use 
of high or honourable seats or couches. 

10. I will observe the precept, or ordinance, that forbids the 
receiving of gold or silver. 

The principal duties that are to be attended to by the novice are 
set forth in a manual called Dina Chariyawa, or the Daily Observ- 
ances of the Priest : — " He who, with a firm faith, believes in the 
religion of truth, rising before day-light, shall clean his teeth, and 
shall then sweep all the places that are proper to be swept, such as 
the court-yard, the platform near the bo-tree, and the approaches to 
the wihara ; after which he shall fetch the water that is required for 
drinking, filter it, and place it ready for use. When this is done, 
he shall retire to a solitary place, and for the space of three hours'^' 
meditate on the obligations, considering whether he has kept them 
or not. The bell will then ring, and he must reflect that greater 
than the gift of 100 elephants, 100 horses, and 100 chariots, is the 
reward of him who takes one step towards the place where worship 
* There are sixty hours in one day. 


is offered. Thus reflecting, he shall approach the dagoba (a conical 
erection under which some relic is placed) or the bo-tree, and per- 
form that which is appointed; he shall offer flowers, just as if 
Budha were present in person, if flowers can be procured ; meditate 
on the nine virtues of Budha, with a fixed and determined mind ; 
and having worshipped, seek absolution for his negligences and 
faults, just as if the sacred things (before which he worships) had 
life. Having risen from this act of reverence, he shall proceed to 
the other places where worship is offered, and spreading the cloth 
or skin that he is accustomed to place under him, he shall again 
worship (with his forehead to the ground, and touching the ground 
with his knees and toes). The next act that he is required to per- 
form is to look at his lita, or calendar, in order that he may learn 
the awach'hawa (the length of the shadow, by which according to 
rules regularly laid down, varying with the time of the year, the 
hour of the day may be known), the age of the moon, and the years 
that have elapsed since the death of Budha ; and then meditate 
on the advantages to be derived from the keeping of the obligations, 
carrying the alms-bowl, and putting on the yellow robe. It will 
now be time for him to take the alms-bowl, and when going his 
round, he is to bear in mind the four karmasthanas, not to go too 
near, nor to keep at too great a distance from, his upadya or pre- 
ceptor ; at a convenient distance from the village, having swept a 
small space clean, he is properly to adjust his robe. If going with 
his upadya or preceptor, he is to give the bowl into his hands, and 
accompany him to the village, carefully avoiding the sight of women, 
men, elephants, horses, chariots, or soldiers. According to the 
rules contained in the Sekhiya, he is to proceed along the road ; 
and after the alms have been received he is to retire from the 
village in the manner previously declared. Taking the bowl and 
outer robe of his superior, he shall then proceed to the wihara. If 
there be a place appointed for the robe, he shall put it there after 
folding it ; then place a seat, wash his feet, enquire if he is thirsty, 
place before him the tooth-cleaner, and bring the alms-bowl, or if 
this be refused, a small portion of rice. The stanzas must be 
repeated that are appointed to be said before eating, after eating, 
and when the things are received that may be used as sick diet ; 
and the food is to be eaten in the manner laid down in the Sekhiya. 
Then taking the bowl of his superior he shall w^ash it, put it in the 
sunshine to dry, and deposit it afterwards in its proper place. This 


being done he is to wash his own face, and putting on his robe, he 
is first to worship his superior, and then Budha. The next act is 
to go again to some solitary place, and there repeat the appointed 
stanzas, considering whether he has omitted the practice of any 
obligation, or in any way acted contrary to them, after which he 
must exercise maitri-bhawana, or the meditation of kindness and 
affection. About an hour afterwards, when his weariness is gone, 
he is to read one of the sacred books, or write out a portion of one; 
and if he has anything to ask from his preceptor, or to tell him, 
this is the time at which it should be done. In some convenient 
place the bana is to be read ; and when this is concluded, if there 
be time before the setting of the sun, he is again to sweep the 
court-yard, &;c. as before. 

" One by one each day, in regular order, the samanera novices 
shall kindle a fire, light a lamp, make all ready for the reading of 
the bana, call the priest who is appointed to recite it, wash his feet, 
sit down in an orderly manner and listen to the bana, and then 
repeat the pirit, or ritual of priestly exorcism. Having done what- 
ever is necessary to be done for the guru, and offered him worship, if 
the novice has doubts respecting any matter he must ask to have 
them solved ; or if accustomed to read the sacred books as a lesson, 
it must now be done, and he must repeat the Sekhiya and Chatu- 
parasudhi-sila. If there be in the same wihara a priest older than 
himself, he is to render him all necessary assistance, such as to 
wash his feet, and anoint them with oil, and after offering to him 
worship, he must ask permission to retire. Reclining in the place 
where he intends to sleep, he is again to repeat the four stanzas 
and the four karmasthanas, as before, and reflect that in the morn- 
ing he will have to rise. Having slept, he is to rise in the morning 
before day-break, and after again repeating the four stanzas and 
the four karmasthanas, he must repeat the pirit taken from the 
Ratana-sutra, exercise maitri-bhawana, and do all that is required 
to be done. In the morning, as well as at night, he is to reflect on 
the eight things that produce sorrow, on the infirmities of the body, 
on death, and on all that is declared in the Dasa-dharmma-sutra. 
Not giving his mind to the four things that lead to hell, viz. evil 
desire, anger, fear, and ignorance, should he know that any priest 
in the community has committed an error, he must go and declare 
it to him in a friendly manner, by which he will derive the benefit 
that follows right speech. If there be a priest who lives according 


to the precepts, and is obedient thereto, he is like one who does 
personal service to Budha ; he honours Budha, acknowledges that 
he is supreme, and offers to him that which is the most excellent 
puja, or oblation. The samanera is then to reflect whether he has 
rightly attended to the Dina Chariyawa ; if he has done so, he must 
remain silent upon the subject, saying nothing about it; but if he 
finds that he has neglected obedience in any one particular, and is 
examined by the guru, he shall confess his fault. When anything 
has been done without due consideration, inadvertently, he is to bring 
a measure of sand, and sprinkle it in the sacred court. He must 
at all times be ready to do that which is necessary to be done for 
his preceptor, and to the more aged priests he must be respectful 
and obedient, washing their feet without any pride. With the four 
articles that he has received as a novice, of what kind soever they 
may be, whether good or bad, he must rest contented ; nor must he 
covet to have anything more than the allowed requisites of the 
priesthood. Maintaining a course of good behaviour, he must keep 
under the five senses, with matured wisdom, and without any 
haxightiness of either body, speech, or mind. He must not associate 
with those who are not ascetics, nor follow their customs ; and he 
must be careful to avoid the commission of the least crime. By 
this means he will render an oblation worthy of Biidha, the ruler 
of the world. This is the Dina Chariyawa." 

In addition to the works read by the lay student, which will 
afterwards be enumerated, the following formularies are to be learnt 
by the samanera novice. 

1. Heranasikha: from herana, a novice, and sikha, rule or pre- 
cept. It is written in Elu, a dialect of the ancient Singhalese, and 
contains the dasa-sil, the dasa-sikha, the dasa-pariji, the dasa- 
nasana, and the dasa-dandu. The dasa-sil, or the ten obligations, 
have already appeared. The dasa-sikha relate to the same rules as 
the dasa-sil, as do also the first five of the dasa-pariji, with the 
addition of the word " knowingly" to each ; and the other five 
forbid — 1. The speaking disrespectfully of Budha. 2. The speak- 
ing disrespectfully of the truth. 3. The speaking disrespectfully 
of the associated priesthood. 4. The entertaining of heretical no- 
tions. 5. Sexual intercourse with a priestess. The dasa-nasana 
make known that after expulsion for committing any of the first five 
of the pariji there may be restoration to the priesthood, but after 
expulsion for any of the second five there can be no restoration. 


The dasa- dan du forbid — 1. The eating of food after mid-day. 2. 
The seeing of dances or the hearing of music or singing. 3. The 
use of ornaments or perfumes. 4. The use of a seat or couch more 
than a cubit high. 5. The receiving of gold, silver, or money. 
6. Practising some deception to prevent another priest from receiv- 
ing that to which he is entitled. 7. Practising some deception to 
injure another priest, or bring him into danger. 8. Practising 
some deception in order to cause another priest to be expelled from 
the community. 9. Speaking evil of another priest. 10. Uttering 
slanders, in order to excite dissension among the priests of the 
same community. The first five of these crimes may be forgiven, 
if the priest bring sand and sprinkle it in the court yard of the 
■wihara, and the second five may be forgiven, after temporary ex- 

2. Dina Chariyawa. This work is also written in Elu. 

3. Satara-kamatahan, in Pali and Elu, from satara, four, and 
kamatahan, abstract meditation, contains rules for meditation on 
the four important subjects, Budha, kindness, evil desire, and 

4. Dammapadan, or the Footsteps of Budha, in Pali. This work 
contains a number of moral precepts, apparently selected from 
various parts of the Tun-Pitakas. It is one of the fifteen books 
belonging to the fifth or last section of the discourses of Budha. 
It contains 423 verses, in each of which there are four or six lines 
of eight syllables each ; but other measures are occasionally used. 
It is divided into chapters, with such names as Yamaka, or double- 
answering Verses ; Appamado, or Religion ; Chittan, or Mind ; and 
Pvippham, or Flowers. There is a paraphrase of this work in Sin- 
ghalese, called Dhampiyawa, which is much valued by the people. 
About 350 of the verses have been translated by the Rev. D. J. 
Gogerly (Ceylon Friend, vol. iv. Aug. 1840, &.c.) ; and the selec- 
tion gives a more favourable idea of the morality of Budhism 
(though its principal defects are equally apparent) than any other 
work I have seen. The first chapter is thus rendered in Mr. Go- 
gerly's translation : — 

" Mind precedes action. The motive is chief : actions proceed 
from mind. If any one speak or act from a corrupt mind, suffer- 
ing will follow the action, as the wheel follows the lifted foot of 
the ox. 

" Mind precedes action. The motive is chief : actions proceed from 


mind. If any one speak or act with a pure intention, enjoyment 
will follow the action, as the shadow attends the substance. 

" Their anger is not subdued who recal to mind — ^he abused me, 
he struck me, he conquered me, he plundered me — 

" But their anger is subdued who do not recal to mind — he abused 
me, he struck me, he conquered me, he plundered me. 

" Anger will never be appeased by anger, but by gentleness. 
This is the doctrine of the ancients. 

" Persons do not reflect. We shall speedily die ; if any do thus 
reflect, their quarrels speedily terminate. 

" He who lives regarding the pleasures of existence, with un- 
restrained passions, immoderate in food, indolent, unpersevering, 
Maraya (lust) will certainly subdue him, as the feeble tree is over- 
turned by the blast. 

" He who lives meditating on the evils of existence with re- 
strained passions, temperate in food, religious, and persevering, 
Maraya will certainly not overpower him, as the solid rock stands 
unmoved by the storm. 

" He who wears the yellow garment with a polluted mind, re- 
gardless of true doctrine, and destitute of a subdued spirit, is un- 
worthy of the yellow robe. 

" He is worthy of the yellow robe who is purified from lusts, 
established in virtue, of a subdued spirit, and conversant with true 

"Those who regard evil as good, or good as evil, will never 
attain to excellence, but are nurtured in error. 

" Those who know good to be good, and evil to be evil, will attain 
to excellence, being nourished by truth. 

" As the rain completely penetrates the ill-thatched roof, so will 
lust completely subdue the unmeditative mind. 

" As the rain cannot penetrate the well-covered roof, so lust can- 
not overcome the contemplative mind. 

" The sinner mourns in this world, and he will mourn in the next 
world. In both worlds he has sorrow ; he grieves, he is tormented, 
perceiving his own impure actions. 

" The virtuous man rejoices in this world, and he will rejoice in 
the next world. In both worlds he has joy ; he rejoices, he exults, 
perceiving his own virtuous deeds. 

" The sinner suffers in this world, and he will suffer in the next 
world. In both worlds he suffers ; he suffers, knowing — sin has 


been committed by me ; and dreadfully will he suffer in the regions 
of torment. 

" The virtuous man is happy in this world, and he will be happy 
in the next world. In both worlds he is happy ; he is happy, 
knowing — I have acted virtuously, and greatly will he rejoice in 

" The worldly-minded man, who understands much" of religion, 
and talks much concerning it, without keeping its precepts, is like 
a herdsman of other men's cattle, who is not a partaker of the flock 
he tends. 

" The pious man, who though he understands but little, and 
talks but little of religion, is an observer of its precepts ; who re- 
moves lust, wrath, and folly far from him ; who is considerative, 
possessed of a mind free from evil and without attachments ; he, in 
this world and that to come, is a partaker of the fruits of piety. 

" End of the Yamaka, or the chapter of double-answering Verses." 

5. Piruwana-pota. This work contains a Manual of Exorcism. 
It is written in Pali, and consists of extracts from the sacred books, 
the recital of which, with certain attendant ceremonies, called in 
Singhalese, pirit, is intended to ward off evil and bring prosperity. 
The whole of it has been translated by the Pev. D. J. Gogerly, 
and appears in the Ceylon Friend, vol. ii. April, 1839, Stc. 

6. Sekhiya. In this work, which is also written in Pali, there 
are seventy rules, by which the priest is to be guided in such mat- 
ters as the putting on of his robes, the manner in which he enters 
a house or village, &c. The rules are incorporated in the following 
chapters. The work is referred to in an inscription at Mihintala, 
near Anuradhapura, recorded about the year a.d. 262 : " The priests 
resident at this wihara shall make it a constant practice to rise at 
the dawn, meditate on the four preservative principles, perform the 
ablution, and then, having attired themselves with the chiwara 
(robes), in the manner prescribed in the Sekhiya, they shall resort 
to the yEt wihara, and having there performed the religious offices, 
afterwards partake of rice-gruel and rice, and shall duly administer 
to the priests who could not attend on account of sickness, such 
things, at their respective cells, as the physicians had prescribed." 

7. Pilikul-bhawana. This Manual, written in Pali, contains in- 
formation relative to the manner in which the priest is to meditate 
on the corrujjtion of his ow^n body. It is divided into thirty-two 
parts, corresponding with the principal members. 


8. Satara-sangwara-sila, from satara, four, sangwara, self-control, 
and sila, precepts. They are — 1. Pratimoksha, the observance of all 
the precepts contained in the Pratimoksha, from the fear of break- 
ing even the least of them. 2. Indriya, the entire freedom from 
any affection for sensible objects, as when the beautiful figure is 
seen, it is as though it were not seen : when the pleasant sound is 
heard, it is as though it were not heard. 3. Ajiwaparisudhi, the 
keeping of such precepts, as that when the priest goes to receive 
alms he must not by word or gesture make known that food or rai- 
ment is desired by him. 4. Prat'yasannisrata, the observance of 
such precepts as those that inculcate that when the robe is put on, 
it is not for beauty or ornament, but to ward off the heat and cold, 
musquitoes, flies, snakes, the rays of the sun, and the wind. 

These treatises are to be learnt by the novice ; and in the works 
that he is afterwards required to read, he is frequently reminded 
that great diligence and exertion must be used, if he would succeed 
in effecting the object for which he has become a recluse. On one 
occasion, Budha said to the priests by whom he was accompanied, 
" Were a man, who wishes to make a small fire into a large one, to 
take wet grass, wet cow-dung, and wet fuel, and blow it with a wet 
winnowing fan, you would say that he is unskilful. In like man- 
ner, the mind of the being who is idle and indifferent cannot be 
brought into the paths that lead to nirwana simply by abstract me- 
ditation ; he must investigate causes and exercise energy even as 
the fire is increased by applying to it fuel that is dry." It is said 
again, "The bowman seeks out good weapons, plants his foot care- 
fully, and when he has succeeded in cleaving a hair with the arrow, 
marks the manner in which it was done, and tries the same method 
on other occasions. The skilful cook seeketh out condiments that 
are savoury, and makes such food as he thinks will be agreeable to 
his master; and when he finds that his master has enjoyed this 
dish or eaten plentifully of that, he prepares the same kind of food 
again, and so gains credit with his master, receiving many presents. 
In like manner, the priest who would enter the paths meditates 
carefully on the precepts, puts them to the test, and repeats the 
practice of those by which he is assisted."* 

The novice is taught that there are eight benefits to be derived 
from becoming a recluse: — 1. Deliverance from wastu-kama, the 
love of wealth, and klesa-kama, the love of pleasure. 2. The re- 

* Wisudhi Margga Sanne 


ception of food in a proper manner. 3. The custom of eating any 
food that comes to hand, of what kind soever it may be. 4. De- 
liverance from the oppression of wicked men and of kings. 5. Free- 
dom from all anxiety about such things as gardens, fields, and 
cattle. 6. Deliverance from the dread of thieves. 7. Deliverance 
from the dread of persons in authority, and release from the neces- 
sity of rising "up when they approach. 8. Deliverance from fear, in 
whatever place.'^' 

There are also ten things that cause men to neglect the assump- 
tion of the yellow robe, or tempt them to cast it off after it has been 
assumed:—!. The mother. 2. The father. 3. The wife. 4. Chil- 
dren. 5. Poor relations. The thought will come that these relatives 
ought to be provided for, which cannot be done by the recluse. 
6. Friends. 7. Property. 8. The desire of obtaining wealth. 9. The 
desire of worldly honour. 10. The love of pleasure. f 

The precepts must be obeyed from a pure motive. Were any 
one to practise the Ten Obligations merely " to fill the belly," this 
man, deceiving the laity, greedy of fame, destitute of virtue, and un- 
w^orthy to enjoy the privileges of the priesthood, will receive a dou- 
ble punishment ; after death he will be born in the Awichi hell, 
where he will have to reside myriads of years, in the midst of 
flames, hot, fierce, and overpowering, in which he will be turned 
upside down, and in every possible direction, covered with foam. 
When released from this hell, he will be born in the hell of sprites, 
where he will have a body extremely attenuated, and most loath- 
some in its appearance, whilst he will have to endure the severest 
privations, and will have to walk upon earth in misery, the siaectre 
of a priest. Just as when a man of ignoble appearance and inferior 
family, by some deception succeeds in being anointed king : but he 
is afterwards punished : his arms, legs, nose, and ears are cut off; 
the scalp is torn away, and boiling gruel poured on his head ; his 
skull is rubbed with gravel until it is white as a sea-shell ; a lighted 
brand being put in his mouth, his body is rubbed with oil and set 
on fire ; his frame is hacked ; he is thrown down, and a spike being 
driven from ear to ear he is pinned to the ground ; his flesh is torn 
with hooks, and cut with small pieces of metal like coins ; the body 
is transfixed to the ground, and turned round and round by the legs, 
the pin serving as a pivot ; he is flogged, until his body is of the 
consistence of a whisp of straw ; he is eaten by hungry-dogs ; his 

* Puj&waliya. f Milinda Prasna. 


tongue is fastened to a stake, and he remains there until he dies ; 
or he is beheaded.* By these terrible allusions the novice is 
warned against becoming a recluse merely that he may secure a 
livelihood ; and they may be received as illustrative of the modes of 
punishment then used. 

The priest who does not obey the precepts Is represented as being 
like a man who daubs himself all over with the most disgusting 
filth in order to render himself beautiful : he is like an ass among 
cattle ; he is shunned by all ; he is like the fire of a cemetery where 
bodies are burnt, or like one blind, or an outcaste.f 

Upon another occasion it was declared by Budha, in the Aggik- 
khanda-pariya-sutra, that it is better for a priest to embrace the 
flame than to approach a woman, however exalted her rank ; that 
the consquence of the one act would be only temporary pain, or at 
most death ; whilst the consequence of the other would be long-con- 
tinued torment amidst the flames of hell. He said further, that it 
were better for the priest who does not keep the precepts to be 
bound with a cord made of hair, and dragged from place to place 
until his flesh is torn off", and his bones are laid bare, even to the 
marrow, than for such a one to receive worship from the faithful of 
any of the three great castes : that it were better for him to be 
cruelly pierced in the body than to receive service from the well- 
disposed among the laity : that it were better for him to have mol- 
ten metal poured down his throat, until his lips, teeth, tongue, 
stomach, and intestines were all burnt, than for him to receive an 
off"ering of food given as alms : that it were better for him to be put 
in a red-hot iron chair or bed, or to be put into a caldron of molten 
metal with his head downwards, than for him to receive the gift of 
a residence. The misery in the one case is merely temporary, but 
in the other case it will endure long. The receiving of honour or 
assistance by the priest who breaks the precepts is like the eating of 
food upon which the serpent has left its poison : it is no benefit to 
him, and will be attended by intense suffering.;]; 

The course of asceticism upon which the novice enters is in- 
tended, not only to overcome the evils of the passing moment, but 
also to prevent the afflictions of the future. This is he taught from 
one of the conversations that took place between Milinda and Na- 
gasena. The king said to the sage, " Are the pains that you take 
intended to drive away past sorrow?" and when he answered that 

* "NVisudhi Margga Sannc t I'lid. + Ibid. 



they were not, the king again asked, " Are they to drive away pre- 
sent sorrow ? " but the answer was the same. Milinda : — " Then if 
it be neither to drive away past sorrow nor present, why do you take 
pains at all? " Nagasena: — " We thus exert ourselves that we may 
destroy present sorrow and drive away future sorrow." Milinda : — 
" Is there future sorrow ? " Nagasena : — " No." Milinda : — "You 
are wise and learned, and yet do you take pains to destroy a sorrow 
that does not exist ? " Nagasena : — " When the kings that are 
your enemies come to fight against you, do you just at that time 
dig the ditches of your fortifications, build the walls, place the 
guards in the watch-towers, and lay in provisions for the siege ? " 
Milinda: — "No: I should prepare all these things before the day 
came." Nagasena : — " Would you on that day begin to train the 
elephants, the horses, the charioteers, the archers, the swordsmen, 
and the mace-men?" Milinda: — "No : all this is done beforehand." 
Nagasena : — " Wliy ? " Milinda : — " To ward off" future fear (or fear 
of the future.) " Nagasena : — " Is there future fear ? " Milinda : — • 
" No." Nagasena : — " You are a wise and prudent king, and do 
you prepare all things necessary for the battle in order that you 
may drive away a fear that in reality has no existence ? " The 
king requested further information. Nagasena proceeded and said, 
" When you are thirsty, and wish to drink water, do you tell your 
servants to dig the well or open the fountain ? Do you not cause 
these places to be prepared beforehand ? And thus you give orders 
relative to a thirst that has no existence. Again, when you are 
hungry, and wish to eat rice, do you tell your servants to plough 
the field and sow the grain ? Do you not cause the rice to be cul- 
tivated beforehand ? And yet you, a wise and prudent king, do all 
this relative to the driving away of a hunger that is still future, and 
has therefore no existence. In like manner the priest acts in rela- 
tion to the future ; that which he does is in order to drive away 
future sorrow." 

It excited the wonder of Milinda that the priests should have any 
regard whatever to the body ; but the novice is to bear in mind that 
this is done, not from complacency or pride, but that it may be the 
better adapted to carry into effect the ascetic rites he is called upon 
to exercise. The king said to Nagasena, " Do the priests respect 
the body ? " and when the sage replied in the negative, he again 
asked, " Then why do they take so much pains to preserve it ? Do 
they not by this means say, this is me, or mine ? " Nagasena : — 


"Were you ever wounded by an arrow in battle?" Milinda: — 
" Yes." Nagasena : — " Was not the wound anointed? Was it not 
rubbed with oil ? And was it not covered with a soft bandage ? " 
Milinda : — " Yes." Nagasena : — " Was this done because you 
respected the wound, or took delight in it?" Milinda: — "No; 
but that it might be healed." Nagasena : — " In like manner, the 
priests do not preserve the body because they respect it ; but that 
they may have the power required for the keeping of the precepts." 
There are some priests who throw off the robe and return to the 
state of a laic. This might be brought as a charge against the sys- 
tem of Budha; it may be said that it is without power, or they 
Avould not have acted in such a manner. But the novice is taught 
to reason thus. There is a tank full of water ; now if a man have 
his body covered with dirt and dust, and his garments all soiled, 
where is the fault ? Can it be charged upon the water ? Again, 
there is a skilful physician ; now if a man labour under a severe 
disease, and does not apply to the physician, the disease may in- 
crease in malignity, but is the skill of the physician thereby im- 
peached ? Is it not rather the fault of the man ? Again, there is 
plenty of food provided, and plenty of water, and men are invited to 
partake of them ; but if they refuse, and will rather suffer hunger 
and thirst than come, can blame be attached to the food or the 
water ? In like manner, when the priest, without attaining nirwana, 
leaves his robe and becomes a laic, it is not the fault of the system 
but of the man ; he is not sincere ; therefore the system has no 
hold upon him, as the lotus does not allow the water to adhere to 
its petals, or as the sea casts upon the shore any body that may be 
thrown into its waves. When the warrior sees that he has to en- 
counter an armed host, he becomes afraid, and runs away ; he can- 
not face the enemy ; so the priest who does not keep the precepts, 
by which he might be preserved, is overcome by evil desire, as he 
is without any defence or protection. When there are flowers upon 
a tree, those that are worm-eaten fall down and rot ; whilst those 
that are not thus eaten continue to flourish, and send forth their 
perfume on every side ; and again, there may be grass and rushes 
in the field where the best rice is sown, but whilst the rice ripens, 
the grass and rushes will wither and die. Now the priest who does 
not keep the precepts is like the worm-eaten flower, or the grass of 
the rice field.* 

* Milinda Prasna. 

D 2 


Respecting some of the advantages that are expected to be gained 
by embracing the priesthood, the teachings of Budhism are not uni- 
form. It is sometimes said that the sins of the man are to the priest 
as the sins that have been committed in a former state of existence, 
and are no bar to the reception of nirwana. Thus Anguli-mala, a 
student, who at the instigation of his preceptor committed 999 mur- 
ders, became a rahat. But on another occasion it is said by Naga- 
sena that certain priests were prevented from attaining nirwana by 
the sins they had unknowingly committed before they abandoned 
the world. Milinda said to him, " There is a laic who unwittingly 
commits one of the five deadly sins ; he afterwards embraces the 
priesthood, and still unaware that he has committed the sin, endea- 
vours to become a rahat ; can such a one succeed in attaining nir- 
wana?" Nagasena replied, "No; if even previously to the commis- 
sion of the crime he had the merit whereby he might have attained 
nirwana, it would be destroyed, cut off, by his sin." Milinda: — "You 
have said on a previous occasion that when a man knows he has 
committed a deadly crime, he is in doubt ; when he is in doubt his 
mind is prevented from rightly attending to the obligations and the 
other ordinances ; and because his mind is thus agitated, he is un- 
able to attain nirwana ; but in this instance the crime is not known, 
and there is therefore no doubt." Nagasena : — " A man takes good 
seed, and sows it in the fertile soil of a field that has been ploughed 
and prepared for its reception ; he takes the same kind of seed, and 
sows it upon the bare rock ; in the one case it is productive ; in the 
other it is not : for this reason ; that upon the rock there is no hetu, 
that which is necessary for the fructifying of the seed is not there. 
Again, when sticks and stones are thrown upon the ground, there 
they remain ; but when the same things are thrown into the sky,' 
they do not remain there ; they fall down ; for this reason, that in 
the sky there is no hetu, nothing by which they can be supported. 
Again, when a fire is lighted upon the earth, it burns ; but a fire 
cannot be kindled upon the water ; for this reason : the water is 
ahetu as to fire, there is nothing in it upon which the fire can lay 
hold." Milinda : — " But explain to me how it is that when the 
crime is committed unwittingly, and there is therefore no doubt, no 
agitation, arising from it, still nirwana should not be obtained ? " 
Nagasena : — " When a man takes poison unknowingly, does it not 
injure him? When he treads upon fire unknowingly, does it not 
burn him ? When a naya bites him during sleep, or when in any 


Other way unconscious, will ho not die ? There was a chakrawartti 
(a universal emperor, who also possesses jDreternatural jDowers), who 
with his army was one day passing through the sky ; unknowingly 
he happened to approach the bo-tree near which the prince Sidhartta 
became a supreme Budha ; but he was not able to pass over the 
sacred place ; his progress was arrested, though he knew not from 
what cause. In like manner, when a priest who during the time he 
was a laic has committed any of the five deadly sins, attempts to 
attain nirwana, he is unable to accomplish the object at which he 

It will be said by the Budhist that though Anguli-mala committed 
so many murders, he did not commit any of the five deadly sins ; 
which are, 1. Matricide. 2. Patricide. 3. The murder of a rahat. 
4. Wounding the person of a supreme Budha (his life cannot pos- 
sibly be taken). 5. Causing a schism among the priesthood. But 
though this reply may seem to prove the uniformity of the system, 
it lays it open to a serious charge upon moral grounds. In the 
arguments brought forward by Nagasena, the dangerous extent to 
which imagery may be carried, and the manner in which the opera- 
tion of moral causes is confounded with that of physical causes, are 
too apparent to require specific indication. The advantages that 
may be gained by the sincere novice are, however, here represented 
as very great ; by becoming a recluse the vvay to nirwana is opened 
before him, and there can be no barrier to its attainment, if he be 
free from the five sins. 

That considerable attention is yet paid to the conduct of the 
novices may be learnt from what is said in an epistle sent by the 
sangha raja of Burma to the priests of Ceylon in 1802. " As some 
erroneously think," he says, "that certain observances are not 
enacted for the novices, but are only obligatory on the ordained 
priests, I quote the following passage from the commentary on the 
Mahawaggo, to show how unfounded is their assertion — ' As long 
as a priest is ignorant of the discipline to be observed by him ; un- 
skilful in the adjusting of the robes, in the manner in which he 
ought to carry the alms-bowl, in the modes of standing and sitting, 
eating and drinking ; he ought not to be sent to any of the alms- 
houses where food is distributed to the priesthood at large, nor to 
any place where food is daily distributed to a select number of 
priests, nor to the forest, nor to any public assembly ; but he should 
be kept near the senior priests ; he should be nourished like a little 


child ; he should constantly be informed of what is allowed and 
what is not ; and he should be duly trained up in the modes of 
wearing and covering the robes, and in the other parts of the disci- 
pline he is required to observe.' .... Some assert that whatever 
is sanctioned by the preceptor becomes binding upon the novices, 
and is legalised by his dictum alone. But hear what is said upon 
this point in the Sanghiti Khandaka. ' It is allowable to a pupil to 
observe some things, saying. My preceptor has enjoined it, or. My 
teacher has enjoined it ; therefore I observe it ; — but of the matters 
thus sanctioned some may be legal and some may not.' The com- 
mentary explains the expression, ' some are legal,' by saying that of 
course it is meant of those things that are in themselves good, and 
do not militate against the laws of Budha." * 

The difficulties that have sometimes to be encountered by the 
youth who wishes to renounce the world, and the reasons that are 
supposed to induce him to take this important step, may be inferred 
from the legend of Rathapala, as it appears in the Rathapala-sutra- 
sanne. Though somewhat long, as it abounds with illustrative in- 
cidents, and contains a moral from which even the wisest may re- 
ceive instruction, I insert it in its original form, with scarcely any 

When Gotama Budha visited the different places in the province 
of Kuru, that he might confer benefits upon the people, he came to 
the brahman village of Thullakotthitan, so called on accoimt of the 
numerous castles it contained, that were filled with all kinds of 
treasures. The people of the village had embraced the doctrines 
of Budha. Among the rest there was a brahman of a respectable 
family called Rathapala, who came to Gotama when he visited the 
village, and requested that he might be admitted to the priesthood, 
as he said that it was difficult for him to act aright so long as he 
continued a laic. Budha enquired if his parents had given their 
consent, and when Rathapala said that he had not requested their 
permission, the sage made known to him that it was not his custom 
to receive any into the priesthood who had not gained the consent 
of their parents. The brahman then went to his parents, and told 
them that since he had heard the discourses of Budha it was his 
wish to become a priest ; and he now requested their permission to 
carry this wish into effect. But his parents replied, " You are our 

* The Sandesa of the Sangha E,&.ja of Biu-ma, translated by L. de Zoysa. 
Ceylon Friend, vol. viii. 1845. 


beloved son, oixr only son ; we have none older than you, none 
younger ; you have lived in all happiness ; you have enjoyed your- 
self; you know nothing of sorrow; remain contented; eat and 
drink whatever is cherishing or delicious ; take to yourself a retinue 
of beautiful maidens ; have dancing girls to amuse you ; remain a 
householder ; and gain merit by giving alms to the three gems. 
We cannot give you permission to embrace the priesthood ; we do 
not wish you to become a priest even after we are dead, and cannot 
therefore give our consent whilst we are alive." Rathapala then 
said, " Unless I receive your permission, I will die here ; " and 
having said this, he lay do^vn upon the bare ground. The parents 
repeated their former declarations three several times, and entreated 
him to rise ; but as he still continued silent, they went to some of 
his friends, informed them of the determination of their son, 
and asked them to come and try to persuade him to change it. 
The friends accordingly came to the place where he was, and thrice 
urged the same reasons as his parents to induce him to remain a 
laic ; but he still remained silent. They then went to his parents, 
and telling them it was in vain to attempt to alter his resolution, 
said it would be better to give their consent ; they would then be 
able to see him at intervals ; but if they still refused their permis- 
sion he would die. To this advice they agreed, on condition that 
the person who ordained him would allow him to pay them a visit 
from time to time. When the friends informed Rathapala that his 
parents gave their consent, he arose, took some refreshment, and 
went to the residence of Budha, who admitted him to the priesthood 
on learning that his parents had granted their permission. 

Not long after Rathapala had thus renounced the world, he 
attained rahatship, and became indeed one of the chief of the rahats ; 
after which he went to Budha, Avho was now resident at Rajagaha, 
and requested permission to go and see his parents according to the 
promise he had given. As his request was granted, he went to his 
native village, near which he remained in a garden called Migachira, 
belonging to the king Korawya. At the proper time, taking his 
alms-bowl, he went to the village to receive alms, after putting on 
his robe in such a way as to conceal his person. As he approached 
his own residence, in going regularly from house to house, his 
father was standing in the central door-way of the mansion, which 
had in all seven doors. When his father saw him in the distance 
he said, " This is one of the priests who took away from us our only 


and beloved son." No attentions were paid to him by any of the 
family ; nor were any alms presented ; abuse was all that he received. 
At that time the female slave of one of his relatives was taking some 
food made of barley, which had been boiled the previous night and 
become stale, in order to throw it away. When Rathapala perceived 
her intention, he told her it would be better to put it in his bowl. 
She accordingly did so ; but when he held out his bowl to receive it, 
she had the opportunity of seeing his hands and feet, and from this, as 
well as from his voice, she knew that it was Rathapala. At once 
she went and informed his mother, who was overjoyed at receiving 
this intelligence, and promised the slave that if it were true she 
should receive her freedom. The mother went and imparted the 
news to his father ; and in the mean time Rathapala eat the stale 
food he had received. The father went to the place whither he had 
retired, and said to him, " Would it not be better to come and 
reside at your own house, than to eat food that has become stale ? " 
Rathapala replied, " Householder, the, priests are houseless ; we do 
not reside in houses ; I have already been to your house ; no alms 
were given me ; not even a kind word did I receive." The father 
again entreated his son to return ; but he said it was needless, as 
he had already partaken of food. He was then invited to come on 
the following day ; and though he remained silent, his father knew 
his intention. The mansion was fitted up for his reception in the 
most splendid manner, and the wife of Rathapala was commanded 
to put on her most beautiful ornaments. 

The next day, Rathapala was informed that all was ready and he 
went to his former dwelling. His father displayed before him all 
his wealth, and said to him, " This is the property of your mother ; 
this belongs to your father ; the rest was inherited from our ances- 
tors. Illustrious Rathapala, take possession of all this, become a 
laic once more, and gain merit by the giving of alms." But he 
replied, " If my advice were followed, all this gold, and all these 
jewels, and this wealth, would be placed upon waggons, taken to the 
Ganges or the Yamuna, and thrown into the stream; for they cause 
only sorrow, lamentation, grief, distress, and disappointment." His 
wife then held him by the feet and said, " Have you abandoned the 
world for the sake of some celestial nymph ? If so, tell me, what 
is the manner of her ajipearance ? " He replied, " Yes ; it is for 
the sake of a celestial nymph that I have abandoned the world." 
On hearing this she fell down in a fit, from the excess of her grief. 



Rathapala then said to his father, " If I am to receive food, let it be 
given ; do not distress me by showing me wealth, or by the approach 
of women."' His father informed him that all was prepared, and 
presented the food with his own hand, until he was satisfied. He 
then took the bowl, and preparing to depart, said, " The body is 
arrayed in garments and ornamented by jewels ; it is like an image 
beautifully painted; it has hands, feet, and various members, is 
built about with flesh, and is subject to disease and decay; think 
about it well : if it were not for the manner in which it is ornamented, 
it would be loathsome ; men and women have affection for this vile 
and perishing body, and none for nirwana. The body is washed 
in perfumed water ; the hair is braided in eight different ways, and 
ornamented with coronets ; and the eyes are anointed with collyrium ; 
but nirwana is despised. Householder ! you are like a man who 
places a gin made of withs to catch deer ; you have displayed before 
me this wealth that I might be ensnared ; but I am like the deer 
that eats the grass and escapes the snare ; I have partaken of your 
food, and now depart." Having spoken these words he went 


About this time Korawya, the king, called Migawa, the gardener, 
and commanded him to prepare the Migachira garden for his recep- 
tion. When the gardener was about to carry this command into 
effect, he saw Rathapala at the foot of a tree ; upon which he went 
to inform the king, who said that he would visit the place without 
delay. When leaving the palace, he sat in his chariot ; but when 
at a proper distance he alighted therefrom, and approached the 
priest on foot. The king requested him to mount the royal elephant ; 
but he refused, saying that they had both better remain as they then 
were, each on his own proper seat. " There are four causes of 
affliction;" the king proceeded to say; "on account of one or 
other of these causes men most frequently embrace the priesthood ; 
they are, decay, disease, the loss of property, and the loss of friends. 
A man becomes old ; all his powers have begun to fail ; he thinks 
thus : I am now old ; I can acquire no more property, or if I acquire 
it I cannot keep it ; it will be better for me to become a recluse. 
But you, most noble Rathapala ! are not old ; you are yet a youth ; 
your hair is like that of Krishna : you are yet in the beginning of 
your strength ; what, then, did you learn, or see, or hear, that 
induced you to become a priest ? There is the affliction arising from 
disease ; men are subject to coughs, asthma, diabetes, and other 


diseases ; and they therefore embrace the i^riesthood. But you are 
in perfect health ; the digestive faculty is unimpaired ; why then 
did you embrace this ascetic course ? There is the affliction arising 
from the loss of property ; men lose their possessions and wealth ; 
they therefore embrace the priesthood. But you belong to a re- 
spectable family in this brahman village ; you have not suffered any 
loss of property ; then why do you endure these privations ? There 
is the affliction arising from the loss of friends ; men lose their 
children and other relatives ; they therefore embrace the priesthood. 
But you are a stranger to this affliction. Then, tell me, why did 
you become a priest ?" 

Rathapala replied, " O king ! four aphorisms have been declared 
by Budha, and it was because I understood them, saw and heard 
them, that I became a priest. They are : 1 . The beings in this 
world are subject to decay, they cannot abide long. 2. They have 
no protection, no adequate helper. 3. They have no real posses- 
sions ; all that they have they must leave. 4. They cannot arrive 
at perfect satisfaction or content ; they are constantly the slaves of 
evil desire." The king enquired what was the meaning of these 
aphorisms, and Rathapala explained them thus : " When you, 
Korawya, were twenty or twenty-five j^ears of age, were you not 
able to subdue the horse, drive the chariot, and bend the bow ; and 
were you not then a powerful warrior ?" The king replied in the 
affirmative ; but when Rathapala asked him if he was the same 
now, he confessed that his former energy had passed away ; and 
when the priest further enquired how this had come to pass, he 
said, " I am now old ; I am eighty years of age ; if I think to place 
my foot here, it goes there ; I am feeble." " It was on this account," 
said Rathapala, " that Budha declared : the being who is resident 
in this world is carried away by decay, or old age ; he cannot 
remain long." The king said, "What Budha has declared is true ; 
but he has also said that though there may be an army to defend 
the monarch against his enemies, there is no protection against the 
approach of sickness ; what is the meaning of this?" The priest 
enquired, "Are you subject to any incurable disease?" and the 
king said, " Yes ; I am subject to such a disease ; sometimes my 
sons and other relatives assemble around me and exclaim : The 
king Korawya will now die." " Well then," asked the priest, " if 
at such a time you were to say to your relatives, or to the nobles in 
attendance, Help me to endure my pain ; divide it among yourselves, 


and take part of it in my stead ; — would they be able thus to assist 
you?" The king declared that they would not. "Therefore," 
said the priest, " Budha has declared that man has no protection, 
no adequate helper." The king again said, " Budha has declared 
that though a man may have much wealth, it is not his own ; 
though he may possess it for a time, he must leave it ; what is the 
meaning of this ?" " You, O king," said Rathapala, " have abun- 
dance ; much wealth and many attendants ; when you enter the 
other world, will you still possess them, or will they be the property 
of another?" The king confessed that he must leave them, and 
that they would belong to another. " It was on this account," 
Rathapala said, "Budha declared that man has no real possessions." 
The king continued, " You have told me that Budha has said : 
The mind is not satisfied, or contented ; it still covets more ; what 
does this mean?" " Suppose" said the priest, " a man worthy of 
all credence were to come from the eastern part of Kuru, and say 
that in that part of the country he had seen many nations, with 
cities, armies, wealth, and maidens beautiful as the celestial dewis, 
what would you do?" The king said, he should go and conquer 
them. The priest put the same question relative to each of the 
other quarters ; and upon receiving the same reply he said, " It was 
on this account Budha has declared that the mind is never satisfied ; 
it is always wanting more ; and it was because I learnt these truths 
that I embraced the priesthood." 

Rathapala then repeated these stanzas : — " There are some men 
who have much property ; but on account of the false medium, 
through which all things appear to them, it seems as if it were 
little ; they are covetous of more, and are continually trying to add 
to their possessions. There are kings who subdue the whole of 
the four quarters, even to the borders of the sea ; but they are still 
not content ; they wish to cross the ocean, that they may find out 
more worlds to conquer, but they are never satisfied with what they 
acquire, and the craving continues until death. There is no means 
of satisfying the desire of the worldling. When he dies, his friends 
go about with disordered hair, and weep ; they exclaim, He is gone, 
he is dead, — and they then enwrap the body in cloth, and burn it 
upon the pyre. He cannot take with him either property or wealth ; 
even the cloth in which he is enwrapped is burnt. When about to 
die, neither relatives, friends, nor companions, can afford him any 
protection. He who dies is accompanied only by his merit and de- 


merit ; nothing else whatever goes with him ; he cannot take with 
him children, or women, or wealth, or lands. Decay is not prevented 
by wealth, nor is old age ; the life continues only for a little time. 
The rich and the poor, the wise and the unwise, men of every con- 
dition, must equally encounter death ; there is no one to whom its 
embrace does not come. The unwise man trembles at the approach 
of death ; but the wise man is unmoved. Wisdom is therefore 
better than wealth ; of all possessions it is the chief; it is the prin- 
cipal means by which evil desire is destroyed, and purity is attained, 
i The cleaving to sentient objects is the cause of many dangers, and 
liprevents the reception of nirwana. For these reasons I have em- 
I braced the priesthood." 


It has been said that " ordination is nothing but a word borrowed 
from the Roman empire, in which it is the legitimate and customary 
mode of designating the institution of a person to some honoui'able 
office ; and this was the original church meaning, as both Eichhorn 
and Rothe have shown." * The act by which admission into the 
priesthood is received among the Budhists may therefore not im- 
properly be termed ordination. It binds the recipient to observe 
certain ordinances or rules ; but it is to be regarded as conveying 
an obligation to refrain from certain usages, rather than as im- 
posing a class of duties that he is to perform. On the part of the 
candidate it is an acknowledgment of the excellence of asceticism, 
with an implied declaration that its obligations shall be observed ; 
and on the part of the priests by whom the ceremony is conducted, 
it is an acknowledgment that the candidate is eligible to the recep- 
tion of the office, and that, so long as he fulfils its duties, he will be 
received as a member of the ascetic community, and be entitled to 
partake in all its rights and privileges. 

The mode in which the ceremony is conducted is extremely 
simple, as appears from the formulary of admission contained in 
the work called Kammawachan, of which there is a Singhalese 
translation. A sangha, or chapter, having been called, the candi- 
date is asked if the requisites of the priest (as the alms-bowl, robes, 

* Bunsen's Chiu-ch of the Futm-e. 


&c. that have been previously prepared and deposited in the place 
of assembly) belong to him. On answering in the affimative, he is 
commanded to remain in a place that is pointed out ; and he is then 
asked if he is free from certain diseases that are named, including 
the leprosy, epilepsy, &c. ; if he is a human being, a man, and a 
freeman ; if he is out of debt ; if he is free from the king's service ; 
if he has the consent of his parents ; if he has attained the age of 
twenty years ; and if he is provided with the priestly requisites. He 
is then asked his own name, and the name of his upadya (the priest 
by whom he is presented for ordination). These things being ascer- 
tained, the moderator commands him to advance ; and the candi- 
date, addressing the assembly, says respectfully, thrice, " I request 
upasampada." The moderator then makes known that he is free 
from the impediments that would bar his admission to the priest- 
hood, that he possesses the requisites, and that he requests upasam- 
pada ; and thrice calls out, " Let him who assents to this request 
be silent ; let him who dissents, now declare it !" If the assembly 
be silent the moderator infers that consent is given ; upon which 
he repeats to the candidate the more important of the rules by 
which he will have to abide — relating to the food he may receive, 
the garments he may wear, the place in which he may reside, the 
medicaments he may use in case of sickness, and the crimes that 
involve expulsion from the priesthood. It is declared that these 
ordinances are worthy to be kept unto the end of life ; to which the 
candidate assents, without, however, making any promise or taking 
any vow. From this time he is regarded as an upasampada, from 
upa, exceeding, and sampada, gain, advantage. 

It is not unvisual for the candidate to put off the robe he had 
worn as a novice, and to reassume for the nonce the dress of a 
layman ; his body is anointed with sandal and other fragrant sub- 
stances ; and with banners and music his friends accompany him to 
the place of ordination. It is said that upon some occasions the 
monarch of Ceylon, the two adigars, .and the four nobles next in 
rank, accompanied the procession through the principal streets of 
Kandy. In like manner, the nun is arrayed in her gayest attire on 
the day when she finally abandons the world, and becomes what is 
called, though the name is too often a solemn mockery, " The 
spouse of Christ." 

The ceremony of upasampada is sometimes called by Europeans 
the superior ordination, implying that there are two orders in the 


Budhist priesthood ; but this mode of speaking is incorrect, as the 
samanera is regarded only as a candidate or novice, and requires no 
other permission for the wearing of the yellow robe than the sanc- 
tion of an upasampada priest. 

In Ceylon, ordination is seldom conferred by the established com- 
munity in any place but the city of Kandy, where the maha-nayaka, 
or arch-priest, and the anu-nayaka, his deputy, reside ; but this is an 
innovation similar to the taking away of the power of ordination from 
" the hands of the presbytery," and confining it to hands episcopal, 
and has no sanction whatever from the earlier usages of Budhism. 

Upasampada confers no mystic power, nor is it regarded as an 
indelible order. The instances are numerous in which the priest 
returns to the state of a laic, frequently remaining in this state until 
death ; but at other times returning to the profession ; which he is 
permitted again to assume without being regarded as having com- 
mitted a breach of the law by his temporary retirement. Indeed, it 
must be evident, upon a consideration of the subject, that no office 
or authority conferred by man, in that Avhich relates to matters that 
demand the consent of the will, and righteousness of life, for their 
right fulfilment, can be properly indelible. The master may coerce 
his slave; and the liege lord, his subjects; and an unwilling ser- 
vice or a constrained obedience may as effectually carry into effect 
the command of an earthly superior as the most affectionate sub- 
mission ; but the bad man, or the man who after ordination has 
received conscientious scruples relative to the ministry, cannot be 
coerced into a right discharge of the duties of this sacred office. 
This conclusion does not at all affect the case of man's responsibility 
to God ; when " a dispensation of the gospel" has been committed 
to any one, it is at his peril if he " entangleth himself with the 
affairs of this life ;" he may not be imperatively confined to any 
particular course of discipline ; he may modify his creed or change 
his community ; but the work of the Lord is not to be neglected, 
nor the ministry of the word forsaken, so long as there is the ability 
to fulfil the exercise in an efficient manner. 

By an express ordinance of Budha his disciples are permitted to 
retire from the priesthood under certain circumstances ; such as 
their inability to remain continent ; impatience of restraint ; a wish 
to enter u.pon worldly engagements ; the love of parents or friends ; 
or doubts as to the truth of the system propounded by Budha. 
This permission would, however, open the way for the practice of 


all kinds of evil, as the priest might do wrong under the supposition 
that, if detected, he had only to declare that he had renounced the 
obligations ; by which means he would be saved from the penalty 
that must otherwise be enforced, and his character be preserved. 
But to prevent these perversions it is ordained that no priest shall 
be allowed to throw off the robe without express permission had 
and obtained from a legal chapter. 


In all ages, and among all nations, in which men have broken 
aAvay from the laws of the Lord, and attempted to establish their 
own righteousness, the practice of celibacy has been enjoined upon 
those who are called upon to perform the more sacred rites of reli- 
gion. The echo of the voice of God, " It is not good that man 
should be alone ;" first heard by man in innocence, was still carried 
on when the visions of Paradise had faded from his sight ; and its 
tones were sufficiently distinct many centuries after his expulsion 
from that scene of beauty, to exercise an influence the most power- 
ful. The divine revelations with which he was afterwards favoured, 
as we may clearly learn from the comparatively few of these inter- 
positions that are recorded in sacred writ, contributed to produce 
the same effect ; with the caution, however, that the help-meet 
should not be taken promiscuously from among women ; " the 
daughters of men," the maidens of Heth, were to be avoided. But 
still the wife was to be sought ; and domestic relations were en- 
tered into by the most holy of the patriarchs, not excepting even 
the one who " was not, for God took him." At what period a dif- 
ferent opinion began to prevail we have no evidence ; but it pro- 
bably commenced at the same time as polytheism, and spread 
co-extensively with that error. When the idea has gone forth that 
man possesses the power to offer a sacrifice, that as a natural con- 
sequence, irrespective of any ulterior arrangement, will bring to 
him merit, it is thought that in proportion to the value of the sacri- 
fice will be the increase of the treasure of righteousness acquired 
by its presentation ; and as it is only an expansion of the same 
thought, that the giving up of the will must be equally meritorious 
with the resignation of the substance, it follows that the more rigid 


the course of self-denial that is entered upon, and the more cruel 
and comprehensive its requirements, the greater will be the amount 
of gain to the ascetic. The same consequences have been produced 
hy another error, of separate origin but correlative effect. It has 
been supposed that in all matter there is an evil principle, and that 
the body of man is an avatar, or impersonation of this principle in 
its most malignant type ; hence all that ministers to its gratification 
must be avoided ; the appetites and passions must be overcome ; 
and the man who neither eats, nor drinks, nor sleeps, who has no 
covering to his nakedness, no wife, and no home, is in a high state 
of preparation for extinguishing his existence for ever, or becoming 
absorbed in the ocean of the divine essence. 

It were needless to multiply instances in proof of the prevalence 
of these sentiments. The priests of Isis were obliged to observe 
perpetual chastity. The persons who were initiated into the Eleu- 
sinian mysteries were obliged to keep themselves unpolluted during 
nine days ; and the high priest was never permitted to marry at 
all, as he was regarded as being given up entirely to the service 
of the gods. The neophytes admitted to the Bacchic mysteries 
were obliged to abstain from sexual intercourse during the ten days 
of initiation. The vestal virgins were bound by a solemn vow to 
preserve their chastity for the space of thirty years. The more 
strict of the Essenes avoided marriage, and extolled the virtue of 
continence ; in this, as in other instances, being opposed to the re- 
ligion that their forefathers had received from God. 

At an earl)^ period of the church, celibacy was represented as the 
principal of the Christian virtues ; and it seemed to be the general 
supposition that no corporeal shrine desecrated by marriage was 
worthy of receiving the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit, according 
to the promise granted to the elect of God. Hence such declara- 
tions as that of Jerome (Adv. Jov. i. 4) : " Qamdiu impleo mariti 
officium, non impleo Christians ;" and such ordinances as that of 
Con. Carthag. iv. 13, that the newly married " cum benedictionem 
acceperint, eadem nocte pro reverentia ipsius benedictionis in vir- 
ginitate permaneant." At first the clei'gy wei'e only forbidden to 
marry a second time; then they were not allowed to marry at all 
after their ordination, unless at the time they put in a special claim 
to be exempted from the law, from having a previous engagement. 
After this no clergyman was allowed to marry, under any circum- 
stances ; and last of all, ordination was conferred upon no one who 


had previously entered into the marriage state. By the ancient 
canons no priest was allowed to have any female in his house, un- 
less she were his mother, his sister, his aunt, or some person above 
suspicion. But the celibacy of the clergy, though first prescribed 
by law in the western church a.b. 385, was never enjoined in the 
eastern church ; and even some of the boldest advocates of mo- 
nachism rejected the notion that it was necessary for the clergyman 
to be unmarried. It was openly declared at the Council of Con- 
stance that no remedy could be devised for stopping the licentious- 
ness of the clergy but that of granting them permission to marry. 
Not long afterwards it was proposed that each church should have 
two married priests who were to do duty upon alternate weeks, and 
during the week of their ministration to preserve continence. Even 
at the Council of Trent, when the stroke fell that so welded the 
mighty fetter as to have rendered it hitherto proof against all at- 
tempts to break it asunder, the question was agitated, that if settled 
in a different manner would have brought a sweet serenity into 
many a circle that has only been brooded over by the worst pas- 
sions of hell. By the 10th canon of the 24th session it was de- 
creed, " Si quis dixerit, statum conjugalem anteponendum esse 
statui virginitatis, vel caclibatus, et non esse melius ac beatius 
manere in virginitate, aut caelibatu, quam jungi matrimonio ; an- 
athema sit:" i. e. " Whoever shall affirm that the conjugal state is 
to be preferred to a life of virginity or celibacy, and that it is not 
better and more conducive to hai^piness to remain in virginity or 
celibacy, than to be married, let him be accursed." 

The legends of the Budhists agree with the records of the western 
historians in presenting the existence of a sect of religionists in India 
called gymnosophists, who were either literally naked, or had no 
clothing worthy of the name. One of the epithets by which they 
are designated is equivalent to " air-clad." Some of these ascetics 
retired to the woods, whilst others resided among men, in order that 
they might give the most convincing proof that their i)assions were 
entirely subdued. In the age of Gotama they appear to have been 
held in high honour, and to have been regarded as possessing a vir- 
tue that raised them to superhuman pre-eminence. They could 
only perpetuate these honours by a strict observance of their pro- 
fessions ; but at times there were individuals who disregarded the 
precepts of the community, and emulated the extravagancies of the 
Gnostics ; teaching, like them, that as everything outward is utterly 


and entirely indifferent to the inward man, the outward man may 
o-ive himself up to every kind of excess, provided the inward man 
be not thereby disturbed in the tranquillity of his contemplation ; 
and representing themselves as like the ocean, that receives every- 
thing, but is still, from its own greatness, free from pollution, whilst 
other men are like the small collection of water that is defiled by a 
single earth-clod. The Brahmanical system could only be kept up 
by procreation, and it was therefore expressly ordained (Manu, v. 
45) that " if a brahman have not begotten a son, yet shall aim at 
final beatitude, he shall sink to a place of degradation. " By the 
procreation of children (Inst. ii. 28) the human body is rendered fit 
for a divine state." In more mature age a course of asceticism was 
commenced ; and then he who could most completely assimilate 
himself to the denizens of the forest around him was the most ex- 
alted sage. 

In the dasa-sil binding upon the priest of Budha, the precept that 
enjoins the practice of celibacy is the third in order. The depravity 
of the people among whom it was promulgated is seen in the strin- 
gency of its requirements. It was not an intact virginity that was 
held up to honour ; but true continence during the period in which 
anyone professed to be prawarjita, or to have renounced the world. 
Gotama was a married man, and had a son, Rahula, previous to his 
entrance upon the course of asceticism by which he became a su- 
preme Budha. This feature of the system opened the privileges of 
the priesthood to a greater number of postulants ; but it must often 
have brought deep sorrow into the domestic circle. Yet in this it 
was only in consistence with the habitudes of a more recent period, 
as we see in the instance of Paul the Simple, who resigned his wife 
and children to another with a smile, when he departed to embrace 
the monastic life. By Justinian (Novell, cxxiii. c. 40) it was or- 
dained that when a married person, whether it were the husband 
alone or the wife alone, entered a monastery, the marriage was 
dissolved ; but this law did not meet with universal approval. 

Among the practices forbidden in the Patimokkhan* the follow- 
ing are included : — Sexual intercourse with any being of whatever 
kind, or in whatever form ; wilful pollution ; contact with the per- 
son of a woman ; impure conversation with a woman ; the commen- 
dation of acts of impurity in the presence of a woman ; acting the 

* Gogerly's Translation of the P^timokkhan, Ceylon Friend, Oct. 1839, &c. 


part of a procurer ; sitting on the same seat as a woman in any 
private place ; giving the robe to a priestess, who is not a relation, 
to be smoothed or washed ; receiving a robe from a priestess ; 
procuring a fleece of wool to be prepared by a priestess who is not 
a relation ; sleeping with any one not a priest more than two or 
three times ; reclining on the same place as a woman ; preaching 
more than five or six sentences to a woman, except in the presence 
of a man who understands what is said ; delivering exhortations to 
the priestesses, without permission of the chapter, or when per- 
mitted, after sunset ; except in case of sickness, going to the resi- 
dence of the priestesses to deliver exhortations ; giving a robe to a 
priestess who is not a relation ; sewing, or causing to be sewed, the 
robe of a priestess who is not a relation ; except in a caravan, and 
when danger is apprehended, travelling in company with a priestess ; 
sailing on the water with a priestess by appointment, except in 
passing from one bank to another ; receiving food given on the re- 
quest of a priestess ; sitting in private with a priestess ; sitting 
with a woman on a couch in a secluded place ; being alone with 
a woman ; tickling with the fingers ; sporting in the water ; ac- 
companying a woman on a journey, though it be only to the 
end of the village ; entering the harem of a king without giving 
previous notice ; taking food from a priestess, unless she be a rela- 
tion ; and allowing a priestess to prescribe what food shall be given 
at a public meal. 

The priest is told at his ordination that when the head is taken 
off it is impossible that life can be retained in the body ; and that 
in like manner the priest who holds sexual intercourse with any 
one, is thereby incapacitated from continuing to be a son of Sakya, 
or a sramana.^'" 

In addition to the ordinances that refer to the outward conduct, 
the priests are directed to live in a state of entire abstraction from 
the world, so that when in the midst of enticements to evil, all im- 
purity may be avoided. The door of the eye is to be kept shut. 
When the outer gates of the city are left open, though the door of 
every separate house and store be shut, the enemy will enter the 
city and take possession ; in like manner, though all the ordinances 
be kept, if the eye be permitted to wander, evil desire will be pro- 
duced. ... It is better to have a red-hot piece of iron run through 
the eye, than for the eye to be permitted to wander, as by this 

* Kamaw&.chan. 

E 2 


means evil desire will be produced, and the breaking of all the 
precepts will follow. The mind will then be like a field of grain 
that has no hedge, or a treasure-house with the door left open, or a 
dwelling with a bad roof through which the rain continually falls. 
The same may be said of all the other senses ; and it is therefore 
requisite that they be kept under strict restraint. 

Numerous examples are given of priests who are said to have 
attended to these advices, and gained therefrom the benefits they 
are intended to impart. On a certain day, when Maha Tissa resided 
in the rock Chetiya, he went to the city of Anuradhapura to receive 
alms, and in the way met a female who had quarrelled with her 
husband, and was returning in consequence to her parents. She 
was a beautiful woman, and arrayed in a very splendid manner. 
Wishing to attract the attention of the priest, she smiled ; but by 
so doing she showed her teeth, and on seeing them he thought 
only of the impermanence of the body ; by which means he attained 
rahatship. Soon afterwards he met her husband in the street, who 
asked him if he had seen a woman ; but he replied that he had seen 
only a loathsome skeleton ; whether it were that of a male or fe- 
male he could not tell. 

A priest who had recently taken the obligations, on going to 
receive alms saw a beautiful female, by the sight of whom his mind 
was agitated. On this account he went to Ananda, a relative of 
Gotama Budha, and informed him of what had occurred. Ananda 
told him that he must reflect upon the subject in a proper manner, 
and that he would then see that the form he had looked upon was 
in reality utterly destitute of beauty ; that it was filthy, defiled, un- 
real, and impermanent ; by this means the agitation of his mind 
would pass away. This evil arose from the want of caution, as the 
priest had not kept a guard over the sense of sight. 

There was another priest, Chittagutta, who resided in the Ka- 
randu-lena, a cave in the southern province of Ceylon, upon the 
walls of which were painted, in a superior manner, the stories of 
the Budhas. The cave was visited by some priests, who greatly 
admired the paintings, and expressed their admiration to Chitta- 
gutta ; but he replied that he had lived there sixty years and had 
never seen them, and that he should not now have known of their 
existence if it had not been for their information. There was near 
the door of the cave a large na-tree ; but he only knew that the 
tree was there from the fall of the pollen and flowers. The tree 


itself he never saw, as he carefully observed the precept not to 
look upwards or to a distance. The king of Magam having heard 
of his sanctity, invited him to come to his palace that he might 
worship him ; but though he sent three messages, the priest was 
not willing to leave his cave. The king therefore bound up the 
nipple of a woman who was giving suck to her child, sealed it 
with the royal seal, and declared that it should not be broken until 
the priest came. When Chittagutta heard of what the king had 
done, out of compassion he went to the palace. The monarch wor- 
shipped him on his arrival, and told him that a transient sight of 
him was not sufficient, as he wanted to keep the precepts another 
day. This he did in order that he might detain the priest ; and in 
this way seven days passed over. At his departure the king and 
his queens worshipped him, and the king carried his alms-bowl 
some distance ; but he merely said in return, " May you prosper !" 
When some other priests expostulated with him, for not being more 
respectful, and told him that he ought to have said, " May you 
prosper, great king! May you prosper, illustrious queens !" he re- 
plied that he knew not to whom he was speaking ; he had not 
even noticed that they were persons of rank. On arriving at the 
cave, he walked at night to exercise the rite of meditation, when 
the dewa of the na-tree caused a light to shine, by which the great- 
ness of his abstraction was perceived, and the deities of the rocks 
around called out in approval. During the same night he became 
a rahat. From this may be learnt the benefit of keeping the eyes 
from wandering ; they must not be permitted to roll about, like 
those of a monkey, or of a beast of the forest when in fear, or of 
a child ; they must be directed downwards.* 

The monks of the Greek and Roman churches have seen, in a 
similar manner, the necessity of placing a guard over their eyes, and 
of being circumspect in their intercourse with women. Aphraates, 
the Persian anchoret, would never speak to a woman but at a dis- 
tance, and always in as few words as possible. When the sister of 
Pachomius, the Egyptian ascetic, went to his monastery to see him, 
he sent her word that no woman could be allowed to enter the en- 
closure, and that she ought to be contented by hearing that he was 
alive. The Roman anchoret, Arsenius, would seldom see strangers 
who came to visit him, saying that he would only use his eyes to 
behold the heavens. Bernard is said to have walked a whole day 

* Wisudhi Margga Sanne. 


along the lake of Lausanne without perceiving it. In the rules 
laid down by Augustin he ordains that no one shall ever steadfastly 
fix her eyes upon another, even of the same sex, as this is a mark 
of immodesty ; he would never suffer a woman to converse in his 
house, not even his sister, as he said that she might sometimes be 
attended by other females, or be visited by them ; and he never 
sjDoke to a woman, vmless some of his clerks were near. Simeon 
Stylites never suffered a woman to come within the enclosure in 
which his pillar stood. It was Basil's rule never to speak to, to 
touch, or to look at, a Avoman, unless in case of necessity ; after a 
year's noviciate he did not know whether the top of his cell had 
any ceiling ; nor whether the church had more than one window, 
though it had three. Theodorus enjoined his monks not to open 
the gate of the monastery to any woman, nor ever to speak to a 
female, except in the presence of two witnesses. The sainted 
founder of the Franciscans kept so strict a watch over his eyes, 
that he scarcely knew any woman by sight. When some one fixed 
his eye too steadily, and for too long a time, upon Ignatius Loyola, 
he was enjoined to make the government of his eyes the subject of 
particular examination, and to say every day a short prayer for 
fifteen months. The Jesuits were not permitted by their founder 
to visit women, even of the highest quality, alone ; and when they 
conversed with them, or heard their confessions, it was to be so 
ordered that a companion might see all that passed, though he did 
not hear what was said. The monks of La Trappe usually keep 
their eyes cast down, and never look at strangers. Women are not 
only excluded from the second enclosure of the Carthusians, but 
even their church ; and no one is permitted to go out of the bounds 
of the monastery, except the prior and procurator, and they only 
upon the necessary affairs of the house. In some of the monas- 
teries it was the almoner's office either to enquire himself, or pro- 
cure proper persons to enquire for him, where any sick or infirm 
persons resided who had not a sufficient support ; but if he himself 
undertook this office, he was to take two servants Avith him, and 
before he entered any house, he was to cause the women, if there 
were any in it, to leave the house ; nor was he allowed to enter 
any house in which sick or infirm women lay. 

As we approach our own times, this state of abstractedness from 
all things earthly, or these precautionary measures against the 
entrance of evil, appear to have been carried to the greatest es- 


cess ; but to assimilate more to the practices of the Budhists. 
Peter, of Alcantara, who died in 1562, in order that his eyes might 
be " more easily kept under the government of reason, and that 
they might not, by superfluous curiosity, break in upon the interior 
recollection of his mind, put them upon such restraint that he had 
been a considerable time a religious man before he knew that the 
church of his convent was vaulted. After having had the care of 
serving the refectory for half a year, he was chid by the superior 
for having never given the friars any of the fruit in his custody, to 
which the servant of God humbly answered that he had never seen 
any. The truth was, he had never lifted up his eyes to the ceiling 
where the fruit was hanging upon twigs, as is usual in countries 
where grapes are dried and preserved. He lived four years in a 
convent, without taking notice of a tree that grew near the door." 
He told St. Teresa that he had lived three years in a house of his 
order without knowing any of the friars but by their speech, as he 
never lifted up his eyes ; if he did not follow the other friars, he 
was unable to find his way to many places that he frequented. It 
is said of Lewis Gonzaga, 1591, that although he every day waited 
on the infant of Spain, James, and had to pay his respects to the 
empress, he never looked at her face, or took notice of her person.* 
ii The permission to retire from the priesthood under certain cir- 
\|cumstances was an important feature in the monastic institutions of 
fiBudhism. In this it resembled the usages of the church when 
celibacy was first enjoined among Christians. Even Cyprian (Epist. 
62), after extolling the merit of the virgins who had taken the 
vows, says, " but if they are unwilling to persevere, it is better 
that they marry." They who broke the vow were commanded 
(Cone. Ancyran. can. 19) to fulfil the same term as the bigamist. 
" Wherever (at the commencement of monachism) there dwelt a 
monk of superior reputation for sanctity," says Lingard, " the de- 
sire of profiting by his advice and example induced others to fix 
their habitations in his neighbourhood : he became their abbas or 
spiritual father, they his voluntary subjects ; and the group of sepa- 
rate cells which they formed around him was known to others by 
the name of his monastery (so that the word which originally sig- 
nified the single mansion of one solitary, now denoted a collection 
of such mansions). To obtain admission into their societies no 

* Alban Butler's Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and other principal Saints, 
passim. Wliitaker's History of AMialley. Tindal's History of Evesham. 


other qualification was required in the postulant than a spirit of 
penitence and a desire of Christian perfection. As long as this 
spirit continued to animate his conduct, he was exercised in the 
several duties of the monastic profession ; if he repented of his 
choice, the road was open, and he was at liberty to depart ... It 
was not till a much later period, and after the decline of the original 
fervour, that irrevocable vows were enjoined by the policy of sub- 
sequent legislators."* It was by Benedict (Reg. c. 58) that the 
law was first peremptorily made that all who entered a convent 
should remain for life. This system was soon adopted in other 
convents besides the monasterium Cassinense in which he resided ; 
and these several convents, becoming united under one form of dis- 
cipline, gave rise to the first monastic order.f In some instances 
among the Romanists the abbots have retired upon pensions, be- 
come monks deraigne, and then quitted their profession and mar- 
ried.]: Among the Nestorians there are monks who are forbidden 
to marry whilst they remain in the fraternity, but they are at liberty 
to leave the convent when they wish to enter into the marriage 
state. § In the Abyssinian church the monks are generally mar- 
ried, except the abbot. They do not live in regular monasteries, 
but in solitary places near the church. They maintain themselves 
and their families by agriculture, and their only duty as monks is 
to read certain passages and psalms, so that the monastic life is 
properly speaking one of ascetic rustics. 

In some countries where Budhism is professed it is usual for all 
persons to take upon themselves, during some period of their lives, 
the obligations of the priest ; but this is probably only an entrance 
into the noviciate. In Ceylon it is less common for any one thus 
to assume the yellow robe who does not intend to devote his whole 
life to the profession. Nearly every male inhabitant of Siam enters 
the priesthood once in his life. The monarch of this country every 
year, in the month of Asarha, throws off his regal robes, shaves his 
head, adopts the yellow sackcloth of a novice, and does penance in 
one of the wiharas, along with all his court. At the same time 
slaves are brought to be shaved and initiated, as an act of merit in 
their converter. The same practice prevails in Ava. Among the 
Burmans, instead of the expensive mode of putting away a husband 

* Lingard's History of the Anglo-Saxon Church, cap. iv. 
t Giesler's Text-Book of Ecclesiastical History, § 34. 
X Fosbroke's British Monachism. 
§ Concler's Analytical View of all Religions. 


or wife, which the common law furnishes, a much easier is often 
resorted to with complete success. The parties aggrieved merely 
turn priests or nuns, and the matrimonial bond is at once dissolved. 
They may return to a secular life at any time, and marry another ; 
but, for the sake of appearance, their return to the world is usually 
deferred some months.* It is the custom in China to serve three 
years as abbot, and after this period to retire into privacy. 

The true ascetic is enjoined to renounce all carnal indulgences; 
but this is only an inferior requirement of the institute. There 
must be a complete annihilation of the affections ; he must forget, 
so far as the most determined effort can accomplish this object, that 
he has now, or ever has had, any connexion with the world of men. 
Regarding himself as if thrown into existence immediately from the 
hand of God, without the intervention of any material instrumen- 
tality, or looking upon himself as the temporary incarnation of some 
seraph, whose native abode is the blue empyrean, he retires within 
the mystic circle of his own purity ; and though the affection mani- 
fested by his parents will at times start up in vivid imagery, and 
the cadence of the hymn with which his sweet sister was wont to 
soothe him in his little troubles will sometimes seem to be repeated 
in the wind's low tone as it passes in its softer mood, it is only like 
the dip of the swallow's beak into the water of the placid lake, or 
the gentle falling of the withered leaf upon its surface, a slight im- 
pression, in a moment gone. Intercessory prayer is a practice that 
he disdains to follow, as such an exercise would be a confession of 
weakness ; a spectre of earth in the shrine where angels only 
ought to enter. And if we were to question the correctness of this 
course, the advocates of the system would probably reply, that he 
prays for none but himself on earth, in order that he may have the 
more power to pray for others when he enters heaven. 

These reprehensible sentiments have prevailed, with more or less 
intensity, in all places where monachism has been established; as 
they are a legitimate, and almost necessary, result of its institutions. 
The Essenes were forbidden to assist any of their relatives who 
might be in need, unless under the inspection of others, lest they 
should favour them above that which was their due. Alipius, 
bishop of Adrianople, forbade the nuns to receive visits from their 
parents, even though they might be at the point of death. f When 

* Howard Malcolm's Travels in South-Eastcni Asia, 
t Ilospin. Do Monachis. 


Fulgentius, procurator of Byzacena, embraced the monastic profes- 
sion, his mother went to the convent, and, in transports of grief, 
cried out to the abbot to restore her son, and not rob a desolate 
widow ; but the son was deaf to her cries, and refused to return to 
his paternal residence. When Paula, a Roman lady in whom was 
the blood of the Scipios and the Gracchi, had resolved upon taking 
a similar step, and for this purpose took her passage for Syria, her 
relations attended her to the water-side, striving with tears to in- 
duce her not to leave them. Even when the vessel was ready to 
sail, her little son Toxotius, with uplifted hands and bitterly weep- 
ing, begged her not to leave him. The rest, Avho were scarcely 
able to speak from the poignancy of their grief, entreated her at 
least to delay her departure a little time ; but the mother " turned 
her dry eyes to heaven," and was soon away from this touching 
scene. One of the works written by Chrysostom, entitled " On 
Providence," was addressed to Stagirius, who had exasperated his 
father by turning monk, and was afterward seized (as well he 
might) with a dreadful melancholy that the usvial palliatives were 
unable to subdue. In another of his works, entitled " Against the 
Impugners of the Monastic State," he addresses first a pagan father 
whose son had irritated him by becoming a monk, and afterwards a 
Christian father, whom he threatens with the judgment of Eli, if 
he withdrew his children from the monastery, telling him that in 
this profession " they would have become suns in heaven ; whereas, 
if they were saved in the world, their glory Avould probably be only 
that of the stars."* 

It was demanded of the monk by Basil, though he did not per- 
mit the novice to be received without the consent of his parents, 
that after reception he should, as far as possible, break connexion 
with his nearest relatives, and literally cease henceforward to know 
his parents, brethren, and sisters, according to the flesh. " It is 
the devil's craft," said he, " to keep alive in the mind of the monk 
a recollection of his parents and natural relatives, so as that, under 
cover of rendering them some aid, he may be drawn aside from his 
heavenly course." A monk when urgently entreated to visit a 
dying sister, at last consented ; but as he had vowed never to see 
any of his relatives, and, in common with others, never to look 
upon a woman, he, after a long journey, presented himself at the 
door, and, resolutely shutting his eyes, called to his sister, " Here 

* Alban Butler, passim. 


am I, your brother, look at me!" and then, refusing to enter, re- 
turned to his wilderness.* "According to the scriptural declara- 
tion. He that hath said to his father and mother, I know ye not, 
and to his brethren, I know ye not, and hath not known his chil- 
dren, they have kept thy word. The monks were to forget filial 
aflfections, and this not of any stiffness or hardness of heart ; for if 
a mere stranger with them be in misery, they mourn as easily for 
him as for another ; but the sword is it that we spake of that is in 
their heart, and hath cut them away from their wonted acquaint- 
ance and affinity, not for that they have to love them still, that love 
also their very enemies, but because they have cast away all carnal 
love which groweth to mere dotage, and have converted the same 
wholly to spiritual charity." f The monks of La Trappe never 
write to their friends in the world after their profession, nor hear 
anything respecting them ; they only know that there is a world in 
order that they may pray for it. When the parent of any monk 
dies, the news is sent to the superior only, who tells the community 
that the father of one of them is dead, and enjoins them to pray for 
his soul. It is at present a rule in Italy, that when a monk meets 
any of his relatives in the street, he is not to raise his eyes to their 
countenances, but to give them a slight token of recognition, by 
raising the hat from the head. 

There were, however, some exceptions to this general disregard 
of filial duty. There was a regulation of St. Augustine's Abbey, at 
Canterbury, that " if it should so happen that the father, the mother, 
the sister, or brother of any monk in the monastery should come to 
such great want and indigency as that (to the reproach of any of the 
brethren) he or she be forced to ask at the gates the alms of the 
fraternity, then, such of them so asking should be provided for in 
the hospital attached to the monastery of sufficient sustentation, 
according to the ability of the house." J There is a sentence 
written by the stern Jerome (Epist. ad Eustoch.) relative to the 
monks of Egypt, that speaks volumes, wherein he tells us that the 
sick monk was well attended to, " ut nee delitias urbium, nee matris 
quaerat affectum.^' 

We shall perhaps be reminded, in defence of the monastic usages, 
of the command of Christ, Luke xiv. 26 ; but we think that these 

* Taylor's Ancient Cliristianity. 

t Fosbroke's British Monachism, quoted from the Haxleiau MS. 

t Somner's Antiquities of Canterbuiy. 


words refer to the situation of the individual who must either dis- 
please his relatives or commit sin ; and that they have no reference 
whatever to the vows of the monk. Hence we admire rather than 
condemn the resolution of Phileos, an Egyptian nobleman, whose 
martyrdom is recorded in the same work as many of the preceding 
narratives.* As he refused to offer sacrifice, the governor, Culcion, 
endeavoured to overcome him by appealing to the grief of his wife, 
children, brother, and other relations, who were present at the 
trial ; but he, like the rock unshaken by the impetuous waves that 
dash around it, stood unmoved, and raising his heart to God, pro- 
tested aloud that he owned no other kindred but the apostles and 
martyrs ; and that he would die for Christ rather than deny him. 

The eastern ascetic presents a similar insensibility to the impor- 
tant duties that are disregarded by the western monk. It is said 
by Manu (Inst. ii. 205), " Let not the Brahman student, unless or- 
dered by his spiritual father, prostrate himself, in his presence, 
before his natural father." The writings of the Budhists abound 
with maxims and legends illustrative of the same type of character. 
Kula, the family or relationship, is called a hindrance to the exercise 
of samadhi, which consists in the collecting of the thoughts, and 
the fixing of them upon one object, so as to be free from all wan- 
dering or perturbation of mind. The sramana recluse who enters 
into an intimacy with any other person, though it should even be a 
priest, will be prevented from acquiring the tranquillity at which 
he ought constantly to aim. He will be indisposed, by other 
calls upon his attention, to enter upon the exercises it is necesary 
for him to perform. But there are some priests who are superior 
to the attractions that would ensnare them, and are even indifferent 
respecting their parents, so that, when communicating with them, 
the relationship is entirely disregarded. We have seen that Ratha- 
pala called his father merely " Householder," and that he paid no 
regard to his wife or mother when in their presence. A priest 
who resided at Koranakara had a nephew who was a priest in the 
same wihara; but in the course of time the nephew went to reside 
at Ruhuna (the southern province of Ceylon, whilst the uncle's 
village must have been somewhere in the north). After this his 
parents were continually asking the older priest if he had heard 
any news of their son. At last, as they were so importunate, he 
set out for Ruhuna, that he might enquire after the welfare of his 

* Alban Butler, Feb. 4. 


nephew, and be able to satisfy the wishes of his parents. By this 
time the nephew thought it would be well to go and see his uncle, 
as he had been absent from him a considerable period. The two 
priests met on the borders of the river Mahaweli ; and, after mutual 
explanations, the uncle remained near the same place to perform a 
certain ceremony, and the nephew proceeded onward to his native 
village. The day after his arrival his father went to invite him to 
perform wass at his house, as he had heard that a stranger had 
come to the monastery. The priest accordingly went every day, 
for the space of three months, to his father's house to say bana ; 
but he was not recognized by any of his relatives. When the cere- 
mony was concluded, he informed his parents that he was about to 
depart ; but they entreated him to come the next day, and they 
then gave him a cruse of oil, a lump of sugar, and a piece of cloth 
nine cubits long. After giving them his blessing, he began his 
journey to Ruhuna. The two priests again met on the borders of 
the river, when the nephew informed his uncle that he had seen 
his parents, and at the same time washed his feet with the oil, gave 
him the sugar to eat, and presented him with the piece of cloth. 
He then proceeded on his journey, and his uncle set out to return 
to Koranakara. From the time that the son began to perform wass 
at his parent's house, his father went out every day in the direction 
of Ruhuna, to see if the priest was returning with his child ; but 
when he saw him alone, as he concluded at once that his son was 
dead, he threw himself at the feet of the priest, wept, and lamented 
aloud. The priest saw the error into which the father had fallen, 
and made known to him what had taken place, convincing him of 
the reality of what he said by showing him the cloth he had re- 
ceived. The father then went in the direction his son had gone, 
fell on his face and worshipped, saying that his son was without 
an equal, as he had visited his parents' house every day during 
three months, and yet never discovered himself to any of his rela- 
tives. To such a priest even parents are no palibhoda or hindrance 
to the reception of tranquillity.* 

Wisudhi Margga Sanne. 



The vow of poverty is a natural result of asceticism, so that we 
expect to meet with it as a matter of course wherever men have 
been taught that to save their souls it is necessary for them to 
abandon the world. The monks of Christendom suppose that they 
have an additional motive for this rule in the example of Christ and 
his apostles. Thus, Chaucer's Wife of Bath, v. 6761, exclaims, 

" And ther as ye of poverte me repreve, 
The highe God, on whom that we beleve, 
In wilfid poverte chese to lede his lif : 
Aiid certes, every man, maiden, or ^^df 
May understond, that Jesus heven king, 
He wold not chese a vicious living." 

The universal tendency there is among all ascetics to the breaking 
of this law, as well as the difficulty of framing regulations that may 
not be set aside by the ingenuity of those Avho wish to transgress 
them, may be seen in the fact, that nearly every order has been in- 
tended at its commencement to repress the style of luxury in which 
the preceding communities have lived ; whilst it has only required 
the elapse of a reasonable time before the new order has been drawn 
into the vortex of the very extravagancies it was intended to put 
down, and for which purpose it was originated. By Jerome (Ep. 
95) complaint is made that some who called themselves solitarii 
lived in the midst of a crowd, and had the attendance of servants ; 
they had all the conveniences requisite for a carousal ; and their 
food was eaten from vessels of glass or some other costly material. 
The same author relates (Ep. 18) that a certain anchoret left a hun- 
dred crowns at his death. When the monks resident in the same 
desert met together to enquire what was to be done with the money, 
some proposed that it should be given to the poor, but it was 
finally resolved that the whole sum should be thrown into his grave, 
with the malediction, " May thy money pass with thee to perdition." 
Until the rise of the mendicants, the individual members of the 
various orders were regarded as denying themselves the enjoyment 
of personal property, though the community to which they belonged 
might itself possess ample revenues. Even Dominic, though he 
prescribed the most severe poverty, did not forbid the houses of his 
order to enjoy in common small rents in money. But Francis pro- 


hibited his monks from possessing a collective revenue, and the 
vow of poverty was absolute. The rule was as follows : — " Fratres 
sibi nihil approprient, ncc domum, nee locum, nee aliquam rem; 
sed sicut perigrini et advenae in hoc seculo, in paupertate et hu- 
militate famulantcs Domino, vadant pro eleemosyna confidenter."' 
The bishop of Acco, 1220, writing of the Franciscans, says, " They 
have neither monasteries nor churches ; neither fields, nor vineyards, 
nor cattle ; nor houses, nor any possessions ; nor where to lay the 
head." When a church was bestowed upon Francis by the Bene- 
dictines of Monte Sonbazo, he refused to accept the property or 
dominion, and would only have the use of the place ; in token of 
which he sent the monks annually a basket of fish. He would not 
allow any property to be invested in his order, that he might sav 
more perfectly that he had neither house, food, nor clothes. When 
asked which of all the virtues he thought was the most agreeable 
to God, he replied, " Poverty is the way to salvation, the nurse of 
humility, and the root of perfection. Its fruits are hidden, but 
they multiply themselves in ways that are infinite," Yet a division 
broke out among his followers as to the precise interpretation of his 
rule, in consequence of which a mitigation of the requirement as to 
the total abrogation of all worldly possessions was made by Gregory 
IX. in 1231; and in 1245 the bull of Innocent IV. allowed them 
to possess certain articles of furniture, with a few utensils, books, 
&c. About a century afterwards a dispute arose between the 
Franciscans and Dominicans respecting the poverty of Christ and his 
apostles ; it being argued by the followers of Francis that they had 
no possessions of any kind whatever, either as private property or 
as a common treasure, whilst the followers of Dominic asserted 
most strenuously a contrary opinion. The pope decided in favour 
of the Dominicans ; and it is recorded that many of the Franciscans 
perished in the flames of the inquisition for persisting in their oppo- 
sition to this decree. It was enjoined by Ignatius Loyola that the 
professed Jesuits should not possess any real estates or revenues^ 
either in particular or in common ; but that colleges might enjoy 
revenues and rents for the maintenance of students of the order. 
It is said* to be jiecvdiar to this society, that the religious, after 
their first vows, retain some time the dominion or property of their 
patrimony, without the administration (the latter condition being 
essential to a religious vow of poverty) till they make their renun- 

* Alban Butler, July 31. 


ciation. Francis of Sales did not allow the nuns belonging to the 
order of the Visitation to have the propriety or even the long use of 
anything whatever, even their chambers, beds, crosses, beads, and 
books, were to be changed every year. 

The monastic churches were, however, sometimes adorned in a 
costly manner, even when the rule of poverty was personally re- 
garded with all strictness. Benedict long used wooden, and after- 
wards glass or pewter chalices at the altar, and if any presents of 
silk ornaments were made to him, he gave them to other churches ; 
but he afterwards effected a change in this practice, and built a 
stately church, furnished with silver chalices and rich ornaments. 
It was a rule among the Cistertians that in their places of worship 
all unnecessary display should be avoided ; they had neither gold 
nor silver crosses, nor candelabras, except one of iron ; nor a cha- 
lice, except it were one of copper or iron ; and they reproached the 
monks of Clugny with having churches " immensely high, immode- 
rately long, superfluously broad, sumptuously furnished, and curi- 
ously painted;" so that men were led to admire more that which 
was beautiful than that which was sacred. There were individual 
monks who carried out these ideas to their utmost extent. All the 
furniture in the little cell of John, the Carmelite, consisted of a 
paper image and a cross made of rushes, and his beads and breviary 
were of the meanest description. 

The words fakir and dervish, so commonly met with in all accounts 
of Mahometan countries, are said to mean, the one in Arabic, and 
the other in Persian, poor. These devotees ask alms in the name 
of God, and are restricted to a life of poverty, relying for their sup- 
port upon the charity of the faithful. Some of them are indepen- 
dent, whilst others are associated together in communities like the 
monastic orders of Christendom. The monks endeavour to trace 
the origin of their system to the first year of the Hegira ; and it is 
said that there are now thirty-two different orders existing in the 
Turkish empire. They found the reason of the ascetic life upon a 
saying of Mahomet — Poverty is my glory. 

The priest of Budha, previous to his ordination, must possess 
eight articles, called ata-pirikara. 1, 2, 3. Robes, of different de- 
scriptions. 4. A girdle for the loins. 5. A patara or alms-bowl. 
6. A razor. 7. A needle. 8. A perahankada, or water-strainer. 
The robes will form the subject of a separate section. The bowl is 
for the purpose of receiving the food presented in alms by the 


faithful. The razor is for the shaving of the hair. The needle, 
Avhich is for the repairing of the priest's robes, is not to have a case 
made of bone, ivory, or horn ; if he is found to possess one, it is to 
be broken, and the fault requires confession and absolution. In this 
respect some of the monks carried their vow of poverty to greater 
excess than the Budhists, as Theodorus forbade his followers to 
have even as much property as a needle. Among the later monks, 
however, every one had a table-book, knife, needle, and handker- 
chief. It was formerly common for men to carry needle-cases about 
their persons, in order that they might be able to mend their clothes. 
In the time of Chaucer the needle was of silver.-'" The water- 
strainer is considered to be a necessary article, as " if any priest 
shall knowingly drink water containing insects, it is a fault that 
requires confession and absolution ; " it is to be a cubit square, 
without a single thread broken. Even the laic who takes upon 
himself the five obligations is required to possess a strainer, and to 
use it whenever he drinks water. The Jaina priests, in addition 
to the strainer, carry a broom, in order that they may sweep the 
insects out of their way as they walk, as they fear to tread on the 
minutest being.f 

These articles can be given to a single priest ; but as other de- 
scriptions of property can only be given to a chapter, they are the 
only things he can possess in his own individual right. When 
taking upon himself the last of the ten obligations, the priest de- 
clares, " I will observe the precept that forbids the receiving of 
gold or silver." But some other articles, such as chairs, couches, 
curtains, umbrellas, sandals, and staves, may be received by the 
chapter. If the priest receives coined gold or silver, or causes it 
to be received, or uses it if deposited for him ; or if he uses any 
kind of bullion ; it is a fault involving forfeiture. He is also ex- 
pressly forbidden to engage in mercantile transactions. When the 
priest sees money, jewels, or ornaments in any place, he is not to 
touch them, though they may appear to be lost, unless it be in a 
house or garden, in which case it may be picked up and given to 
the owner. 

It was supposed by the late James Prinsep, from the absence of 
any of the titles of sovereignty on many coins that are evidently of 
Budhist origin from the symbols that they bear, that the Budhist 

* Fosbroke's British Monachism. 

t Colebrookc's Miscellaneous Essays, ii. 194. 


coinage was struck in the monasteries of the priesthood ; but as the 
priest was forbidden to touch money, under any circumstances, 
the supposition must be incorrect. It has been doubted whether 
any native coin, properly so called, was circulated in India anterior 
to the incursion of Alexander, as none of the ancient books of the 
Hindus mention coined money ;* but in the most ancient laws of 
the Budhists, the distinction is recognised between coined money 
and bullion. The monks of Britain were less scrupulous in this 
matter than their eastern compeers. The monastic mint was not 
unfrequently an establishment of great importance, and if we may 
judge from the number of their coins yet in existence, the issues 
must have been extensive. The abbey of Bury had the following 
officers : — custos cunei, or keeper of the mint ; monetarius, the 
moneyer or mint-master ; cambiator, or exchanger ; duo custodes, 
or keepers ; and duo assaisiatores, or assayers.f 

Among the easterns generally, the most valuable personal pro- 
perty is that which can be corrupted by " the moth and the rust; " 
or garments, and ornaments fabricated of the precious metals ; and 
as the priest can only possess three robes, and these of a particular 
kind, and is not allowed to have rich furniture, or to possess gold 
or silver, it is not in his power to accumulate that which alone 
would in India be regarded as wealth. Even when articles of a 
more valuable description are presented to the community, they 
cannot be used by the priest without being previously disfigured. 
Thus the priest may have a carpet or coverlet, but it must not be 
made with a mixture of silk ; nor of woollen of a black colour, but 
two parts black, one white, and one brown ; it is to be used six 
years, and then not given away or renewed, without the consent of 
the other priests ; and the sitting carpet is to be disfigured by 
having part of an old carpet attached to it of a span in size.| 

The second of the three great ecumenical convocations that at an 
early period were held by the Budhists, Avas assembled in conse- 
quence of the unauthorised practices of some of the priests in the 
city of Wesali. Among other things it was their custom upon the 
lunar festivals to fill a golden basin Avith water, and placing it in 
the midst of the assembly, to say to their followers, " Beloved ! 
bestow Tipon the priesthood a kahapanan coin, or half, or a 

* Joiimal Bengal As. Soc. Aug. 1843. 

t Taylor's Index Monasticus. 

J Gogerly's Translation of the Pktimokkhan. 


quarter of one, or even the value of a masa ; to the priesthood it 
will afford the means of providing themselves with the sacerdotal 
requisites ! " * 

But the rule of poverty, as among the monks of the west, was in 
a great degree nullified by the specious distinction between the 
priest and the priesthood, the individual and the community, the 
sramana and the sangha. The community is allowed to be rich in 
lands, and to have splendid edifices dedicated to its use, whilst the 
individual priest is regarded as having renounced all worldly pos- 
sessions. That which is given to the general fund is not to be appro- 
priated as private property by any member of the community, nor 
given to a laic. No stool or couch belonging to the chapter is to 
be carelessly left out in the open air ; by which is to be understood 
that the property of the community is to be taken care of in a 
proper manner. In an inscription cut in the rock near Mihintala in 
Ceylon, it is directed that the lands which belong to the wihara 
shall be enjoyed by the priesthood in common, and not divided 
into separate parcels. We leain from the same inscription, that 
exact accounts, regularly audited, were kept of the revenues of the 
temple. After paying the prescribed -wages to those who were en- 
titled to receive them, the rest of the revenues proceeding from the 
lands belonging to the wihara were to be entered in books by the 
proper officers, that the same might be under inspection. The 
daily expenditure on account of the public alms-bowl, and of the 
hired servants, and for repairs, was to be written in books ; and an 
account was to be kept of the contents of the store-room. Every 
month these several accounts were to be collected into one ; and at 
the end of the year the monthly accounts were again to be formed 
into one list or register, to be produced before a chapter of the 

When passing through the interior of Ceylon, amidst scenery 
so beautiful that it almost appears to give reality to the legend that 
it once was Paradise, and my attention has been attracted by the 
sight of lands teeming with more than usual fertility, it has almost 
invariably happened that on enquiring to whom these rich domains 
belonged, I have been told that they were the property of the 
priests. Their possessions must therefore be very extensive ; though 
perhaps not equal to those of the clergy in England, who in the 

* Tm-nour's Examination of the Pali Biulhistical Annals: Joum. Bengal 
As. Soc. Sept. 1837. 

F 2 


thirteenth century are said to have had in their hands 28,000 out 
of the 53,000 knights' fees connected witli the landed property of 
the realm. Though the monarch of Ceylon was considered to have 
been originally the sole possessor of the soil, there Avere in all times 
of which we have any statistical accounts a large proportion of 
lands appropriated to private individuals and to the priests. The 
temple lands were principally royal donations, but not in every 
instance. It is not very clear how lands came into the possession 
of private individuals, so as to be alienable ; but we may infer that 
they were originally granted by the kings for some signal services 
performed, and that the families thus rewarded, afterwards falling 
into decay, found themselves obliged to look out for some more 
powerful protection. Tliey might either become retainers of the 
crown or the church ; but as the temple service was nearer their 
own homes, was less arbitrary and oppressive, and had moreover 
the recommendation that by this means they might benefit their 
souls, it was natural that they should dedicate their lands to the 
priest, rather than to the king. Lands that were newly cleared 
might also be considered as liable to no compulsory custom ; and 
from a similar motive, to ensure protection, they would sometimes 
be given over to the temple ; then, in return for the protection re- 
ceived, certain services would be promised on the part of the indi- 
vidual who presented the gift, as it would be understood that his 
family was to retain possession of the lands, though the proprietor- 
ship was nominally in the temple. Of this mode of the transmission 
of property we have many parallel instances in the history of the 
feudal times. When lands were dedicated by the kings of Ceylon, 
the services that were to be rendered by the cultivator of the soil 
to the priesthood were very minutely set forth, as is testified by 
many inscriptions still to be traced upon slabs of stone, and occa- 
sionally in the solid rocks, near the temples to which the lands 
were given. 

The temple lands were invariably free from royal custom or duty, 
the services v/hich in the royal villages were paid to the king being 
here paid to the temple. This system existed in very ancient times, 
some of the grants being nearly as old as the time of Christ. An 
extract from the Account of Ceylon, published by Robert Knox, 
will illustrate the usages as they prevailed during his captivity in 
Kandy, which commenced in the year 1659 : — " Unto each of the 
pagodas there are great revenues of land belonging ; which have 

vri. POVERTY. 69 

been allotted to them by former kings, according to the state of the 
kingdom : but they have much impaired the revenues of the crown, 
there being rather more towns belonging to the church than to the 
king. These estates of the temples are to supply a daily charge 
they are at, which is to prepare victuals or sacrifices to set before 
the idols. They have elephants also, as the king has, which serve 
them for state. Their temples have all sorts of officers belonging to 
them, as the palace hath. . . . Many of the vehars (wiharas) have 
farms belonging to them, and are endowed. The tirinanxes (priests 
who have received ordination) are the landlords, unto whom the 
tenants come at a certain time, and pay their rents. These farmers 
live the easiest of any in the land, for they have nothing to do but 
at these set times to bring in their dues and so depart, and to keep 
in repair certain little vehars in the country. So that the rest of 
the Chingulais envy them and say of them. Though they live easy 
in this world, they cannot escape unpunished in the life to come, for 
enjoying the Buddou's land and doing him so little service for it." 

It is said, in an official report published in 1831 : — " The pos- 
sessions of the temples constitute a large proportion of the culti- 
vated lands in the Kandyan provinces. In the several temples and 
colleges there are registers of the lands dependent on them, but 
these registers not having been examined, their extent has not been 
accurately ascertained. At my request, translations were made of 
the registers of the principal temples of Kandy ; and from these it 
appears that the tenants and proprietors of what are called Temple 
Lands in the several provinces, are liable, on the requisition of the 
chiefs and priests, to render services and contributions of various 
kinds. These are minutely detailed in the registers, and the occu- 
pier of each allotment of land has a special duty assigned to him, 
or a special contribution to make, either for the repairs of the tem- 
ples, the subsistence of the chiefs and priests, and their attendants, 
or on occasion of the annual festivals."* 

From these documents it is evident that the situation of the 
priests of Ceylon is at present very different to that which was in- 
tended at the commencement of their order by Gotama Budha, as 
they must have degenerated therefrom in proportion to the extent 
of their lands and of their social and political privileges. Professedly 

* Report of Lieut. Col. Colebrookc, one of His Majesty's Commissioners of 
Enquiry upon the Administration of the Government of Ceylon, dated Dec. 
24, 1831. 


mendicants, and possessing only a few articles that are of no in- 
trinsic value, tliey are in reality the wealthiest and most honoured 
class in the nation to which they belong. In other countries where 
Budhism is professed, it is probable that they are less wealthy ; 
but in no place can we find the recluse of the primitive institution. 


The priest of Budha is not allowed to bring Avithin the door of 
his mouth any food not given in alms, unless it be water, or some 
substance used for the purpose of cleaning the teeth ; and when in 
health the food that he eats must be procured by his own exertions 
in carrying the alms-bowl from house to house in the village or 
city near which he resides. When going to receive alms, the 
bowl is slung across his shoulder, and is usually covered by the 
outer robe. It may be made of either iron or clay, but not of any 
other material. It must first be received by a chapter, and then be 
officially delivered to the priest whose bowl, after examination, is 
found to be in the worst condition. No priest is allowed to pro- 
cure a new bowl so long as his old one has not been bound with 
five ligatures to prevent it from falling to pieces ; and he is not 
allowed to use an extra bowl more than ten days without permis- 
sion from a chapter. When passing from place to place, the priest 
must not look to a greater distance before him than the length of a 
yoke ; nor must he look on one side, or upwards, nor bend his 
body to look at anything upon the ground ; he is not to look at 
elephants, chariots, horses, soldiers, or women ; nor is he allowed 
to put out his arms or feet in a careless manner. He may not call 
a woman by her name, nor ask what kind of victuals there are in 
the house, or what kind will be presented. He may not say that 
he is hungry in order that food may be given him. Should he see 
a child driving calves, he may not ask if they still suck, in order 
that the child may tell its mother, and the mother be induced to 
give him milk. A certain priest, who was suffering from hunger, 
went to a house to receive food. The woman of the house said 
that she had nothing to give him, but she pretended that she would 
go and ask something from her neighbour, for which purpose she 
left the house and went to a little distance. The priest took the 


opportunity of looking to see what was in the house ; and in the 
corner near the door he saw a piece of sugar-cane ; he also saw 
some sugar-candy, salted meat, rice, and ghee, in different vessels ; 
after which he again retired to the outer court. When the wo- 
man returned, she said that she had not succeeded in obtaining any 
rice. The priest replied, " It is not a fortunate day for the priest- 
hood ; I have seen an omen." She asked what it Avas : and he 
proceeded, " I saw a serpent, like a piece of sugar-cane ; on looking 
for something to strike it with, I saw some stones like pieces of 
sugar-candy; the hood of this snake was like a piece of salted 
meat ; its teeth were like grains of rice ; and the poisonous saliva 
falling from its gums was like ghee in an earthen vessel." The 
woman on hearing this, was unable to deny the truth of the infer- 
ence ; so she presented the priest with the whole of the articles he 
had seen. But in this manner to speak of what is near is forbidden ; 
it is samanta jappana. 

It is forbidden to the priest to proclaim his purity, or attainments, 
to the householder, in order that he may gain honour or gifts. 
When persons come to the temple, he may not go up to them and 
address them, asking them why they have come ; and when he has 
ascertained that they have come to make offerings, tell them that 
his name is so and so, and that he is the religious teacher of such a 
noble or such a king ; he may not address them with high titles and 
flatter them; he may not say that during seven generations the 
members of their family have been generous to the priests, and ask 
why they do not follow the same excellent example ; nor is he 
allowed to be continually pressing them and urging them to give. 
Should he meet any one with a piece of sugar-cane in his hand, he 
may not ask from what garden it has been procured, in order that 
it may be given him. When two priests enter a village, they may 
not call for some noble female, and when she has come, say to each 
other that in such a way her mother assisted them, in order that she 
may be induced to do the same.* 

There are some places to which the priest is allowed to go 
when seeking alms, and some to which he is not ; the former are 
called gochara and the latter agochara. Among the places that are 
not allowed may be reckoned houses of ill-fame, for though no sin 
might be committed by the priest, either in act or thought, it would 
expose him to ridicule ; houses of widows, or of women whose hus- 

* Wisudhi Margga Samie. 


bands have gone to some distant place; places where there are grown- 
up women not given in marriage ; or where there are catamites or 
hermaphrodites, as in such places obscene words may be heard ; or 
where there are priestesses, lest the purity of both should be placed 
in danger : taverns, or places where there are persons in liquor ; 
the palaces of kings ; the mansions of noblemen ; the dwellings of 
tirttakas or unbelievers ; places where the people bear ill-will to the 
priests or the faithful, and would abuse or ill-treat them : all these 
places are to be avoided. Among the places that are allowed may 
be reckoned the dwellings of persons who have shown their charity 
by such acts as the digging of wells for the public benefit ; or of 
persons who treat the priests with respect and invite them to pay 
frequent visits ; or of persons who are sincere in the faith. 

We also learn from the Milinda Prasna, that there are two modes 
of winyapti, or seeking alms. One is called k aya-winyapti, that 
which belongs to the body; and the other wachi- winyapti, that 
which belongs to the speech. Of each of these modes of seeking 
alms there are two kinds ; the one proper, or permitted ; the other 
improper, or not permitted. Thus, when the priest approaches a 
house with the alms-bowl, he must remain as though unseen ; he 
may not hem, nor may he make any other sign that he is present, 
and he is not allowed to approach too near the dwelling. If he 
falls into any of these practices it is a kaya- winyapti that is for- 
bidden ; he transgresses the precept : and it is equally a transgres- 
sion if he stretches out his neck like a peacock, or in any Avay bends 
his head that he may attract the attention of those who give alms ; 
he is not allowed even to move the jaw, or lift up the finger, for the 
same purpose. The proper mode is for the priest to take the alms- 
bowl in a becoming manner ; if anything is given, he remains to 
receive it; if not, he passes on. Budha has said, " The wise priest 
never asks for anything; he disdains to beg; it is a proper object 
for which he carries the alms-bowl ; and this is his only mode of 
solicitation." When the priest asks for robes, seats, medicine, or 
any other of the sacerdotal requisites, it is a wachi-winyapti that 
is forbidden ; nor is he allowed to say of anything, that if he were 
to receive it, it would be a benefit to him ; or to proclaim the benefit 
to be received from the giving of alms, that the people may be 
liberal to him. But when he is sick, he is permitted to ask for any 
medicine that he may require, without being guilty of any trans- 


* P^timokkhan. Wisudlii Margga Sanne. Milinda Prasna. 


The fourth of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Sapadanachari- 
kanga. The word apadana means the breaking, the not keeping or 
observing ; and sapadana is the keeping, the observing. The name 
is given to this ordinance because it enjoins the passing in regular 
order or succession from house to house. By this ordinance the 
priest is forbidden to pass by any house when going with the bowl 
to receive alms, on account of its meanness or inferiority ; but he 
may pass by the house if near it there be any danger, as from dogs. 
When he visits a village, street or house three successive days, 
without receiving anything, he is not required to go to the same 
place again ; but if he receives only the least particle, it must be 
regularly visited. When he has gone out with the bowl, and not 
received anything, should he meet a person in the road who is 
carrying food intended for the priesthood, he may receive it ; but if 
anything has previously been given him, this is forbidden. The 
priest who keeps the superior rule of the ordinance may receive 
food only from the house before which he stands, or from the hall 
where food is regularly given. It is said that no priest ever kept this 
precept like Maha Kasyapa. He who keeps the middle rule may 
remain only a short time before the house, and must then pass on. 
The inferior rule allows the priest to wait until the food is given, 
though there may be delay. 

Though the priest is not required to go more than three times to 
the same house to receive alms when none are given, it is regarded 
as a merit, in certain cases, if he persevere. The priest Rohana 
went to the house of Sonuttara, the father of Nagasena, for the space 
of six years and ten months with the alms-bowl, although in the 
whole of this period he did not receive so much as a spoonful of 
rice, nor any mark of respect. Abuse was all that was given him ; 
until one day a girl peeped from behind the door, and said that it 
was early. On receiving this salutation he was greatly pleased. 
It so hajipened that on the same morning Sonuttara met him : and 
as he saw pleasure depicted in his countenance, he asked whether 
he had received anything at the house, and Rohana said that he 
had. Sonuttara was in great wrath that his orders should be dis- 
obeyed, as he had charged his household not to give anything to 
the priest ; but when he enquired who it was that had dared to act 
thus, all the members of the family denied that they had done any 
such thing. The next day, when Rohana came with the alms-bowl, 
the offended master stood near the door of his house, and charged 


the priest with uttering an untruth ; but he said that he had spoken 
correctly, as a kind word had been given him, and this was what 
he had received. Then Sonuttara concluded, that if a single word 
had given so much pleasure, a gift of food would produce much 
more. He therefore commanded that Rohana should have as much 
rice as he could eat, and that he should receive the same daily in 
future. ■'•' The patience of Rohana was, however, exceeded by that 
of Isidore, an Egyptian monk. When asking to be admitted into 
the house, he said to the abbot, " I am in your hands, as iron in the 
hands of the smith." The abbot ordered him to remain without 
the gate, and to prostrate himself at the feet of every one who 
passed by, begging prayers for his soul as for a leper. This com- 
mand he obeyed, and remained in this humiliating position for the 
space of seven years. The first year he had a violent conflict ; the 
second, tranquillity; and the third, pleasure.f 

Though the priests are required to go from house to house, not 
omitting the meanest residence, if the inhabitants be willing to give 
alms, the spirit of this law is frequently evaded in Ceylon. The 
people of the lower castes usually live in houses that are contiguous 
to each other, so that the priest can avoid going near them without 
appearing to break the rule. In the village of Rillegalle, where I 
sometimes resided, the quarter inhabited by the washers was never 
visited by the priests ; and an entire village at a little distance, in- 
habited by mat-weavers, was equally neglected. 

The practice of mendicity as a religious observance is of very 
ancient origin ; and its existence may be traced among nations that 
greatly differ in their general character. The rules to be observed 
by the Brahman mendicant are laid down with much precision. 
" Every day must a Brahman student receive his food by begging, 
with due care, from the houses of persons renowned for discharging 
their duties. If none of those houses can be found, let him go 
begging through the whole district round the village, keeping his 
organs in subjection, and remaining silent; but let him turn away 
from such as have committed any deadly sin. . . . Let the student 
persist constantly in such begging, but let him not eat the food of 
one person only ; the subsistence of a student by begging is held 
equal to fasting in religious merit. . . . This duty of the wise is 
ordained for a Brahman only ; but no such act is appointed for a 
warrior or a merchant." — Manu, Inst. ii. 183, 185, 188, 190. The 

* Milinda Prasna. f Alban Butler, March 30. 


sanyasi is also enjoined (Inst. vi. 58) to refrain from receiving food 
after humble reverence, since by taking it in consequence of a 
humble salutation, though free, he becomes a sceptic. The house- 
holder (Inst. iv. 32) is to make gifts, as far as he has ability, to 
religious mendicants, though heterodox. The uXvprai were mendi- 
cant priests among the Greeks, who went about from place to place 
soliciting alms in behalf of the gods whom they adored. It is sup- 
posed that their origin was eastern. They Avere connected with 
the worship of Isis, Opis, and Arge. Their character was not good, 
and they were ready to inflict injuries on the enemies of those who 
paid them for that purpose.* The same priests among the Romans, 
bound by vows of temperance and abstinence, were supported on 
the charity of the public. They went their daily rounds to receive 
alms with the sistrum in their hands. But by their avidity much 
opposition was excited against their order. " Stipes aereas immo 
vero et argenteas, multis certatim ofFerentibus sinu recepere patulo ; 
nee non et vini cadum et lactis et caseos avidis animis corradentes 
et in sacculos huic questui de industria preparatos furcientes, &c." — 
Apuleius, Metam. i. viii. It was proposed by Cicero to restrain 
their extravagance. " Stipem sustulimus nisi eam quam ad paucos 
dies propriam Idaeae Martis excepimus. Implet enim superstitione 
animos ; exhaurit domos." — Cic. de Legib. z,. ii. 9, 16. | 

The mendicant orders among the Romanists came into notice 
in the thirteenth century ; but the practice existed among the monks 
at a much earlier period. Jerome complains (Ep. 18) that men 
with hair like women, beards like the goat, a black cloak and bare 
feet, entered into the houses of nobles and deceived silly women, 
laden with sin. The friars differed from the monks only in being 
mendicants by profession. Even the ascetics who were not pro- 
fessedly mendicants were sometimes obliged to beg. The monks 
who founded Fountains' Abbey, about 1137, were at one time re- 
duced to so much distress that the abbot went round the neigh- 
bourhood to ask alms, but without success, and they were reduced 
to feed on the leaves of trees, and on herbs gathered in the fields, 
boiled with a little salt.j According to some writers, there were 
three kinds of poverty among them ; some had nothing, either of 
their own or in common ; others had something in common, as 

* Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 
t Middleton's Letter from Rome. 
j Burton's Monasticon Eboracense. 


books, clothes, food, &c., but nothing of their own ; and others had 
a little of both kinds of property, but only necessaries, as food and 
clothes. It was requisite that the quester, whose office it was to 
collect the daily alms for the subsistence of the community, should 
be a man of great virtue and circumspection, as he was constantly 
exposed to temptations that to a monk must have been of the most 
formidable character. Such a one was the Capuchin, Felix of Can- 
talicio. It is said that Laurence Justinian, the first patriarch of 
Venice, when he went about the streets begging alms with a w^allet 
upon his back, obtruded himself into the presence of the nobles, 
on purpose that he might meet with derision and contempt. Fre- 
quently did he stand before the door of his own house, and cry out, 
" An alms, for the sake of God!" but he would not enter in, nor 
ever took more than two loaves. The storehouse in which the pro- 
visions of the community were laid up for the year, having been 
burnt down, a certain brother lamented the loss, but he said cheer- 
fully, "Why have ye embraced and vowed poverty? God has 
granted us this blessing that we may feel it." Francis called the 
begging of alms from door to door, " the table of the Lord." Many 
of the cities of Europe were divided or cantoned out into four parts, 
the first being assigned to the Dominicans, the second to the Fran- 
ciscans, the third to the Carmelites, and the fourth to the Augustines. 
The towns of Norwich, Lynn, and Yarmouth, appear to have been 
quartered in a similar way ; and in some instances the convents 
derived considerable revenvie from the privilege of confessing, 
preaching, and begging in their respective districts. At the crosses 
in cities and other places sermons were delivered on Sundays and 
holydays, at which time money was collected from the audience."* 
There are also instances upon record in which the sole right of 
frequenting particular circuits was purchased by individuals, who 
appear to have been not at all difiident in trying to turn their privi- 
lege to the best account. Thus Chaucer speaks of his " merry 
Frere" in the following terms : — 

'• Ther n'as no man nowher so vertuous ; 
He was the beste begger in all his hous ; 
And gave a certaine ferme for the grant, 
Non of his bretheren came in liis haimt ; 
For though a widewe hadde but a shoo, 
(So pleasant was his In princijno) 
Yet wold he have a ferthing or he went." 

* Taylor's Index Monasticus. 


The appearance of the mendicant orders was hailed with satis- 
faction, as it was supposed that it would be a means by which the 
corruptions of monachism might be avoided ; but the rapacity of 
the members soon excited general disgust. Richard Fitz Ralph, 
archbishop of Armagh, objected to the pope and cardinals, rela- 
tive to the mendicant orders, that " scarce could any great or mean 
man of the clergy or the laity eat his meat, but such kind of beggars 
would be at his elbow ; not like other poor folks humbly craving 
alms at the gate or the door (as Francis did command and teach 
them in his testament) by begging, but without shame intruding 
themselves into courts or houses, and lodging there ; where, with- 
out any inviting at all, they eat and drink what they do find among 
them, and, not with that content, carry away with them either 
wheat, or meal, or bread, or flesh, or cheese, although there were 
but two in the house, in a kind of an extorting manner, there being 
none that can deny them, unless he would cast away natural 
shame." ^^ The corrujDtion of these orders was fearlessly pro- 
claimed by Wyclifi'e, who wrote " Of the Poverty of Christ," 
"Against Able Beggary," and "Of Idleness in Beggary;" and 
maintained : " sith open Begging is thus sharply damned in holy 
Writ, it is a foule Error to meyntene it, but that it is more error to 
seie that Christ was such a Beggar." f In the famous petition 
called "the Supplication of Beggars," presented to Henry VIII. 
complaining of the encroachments of the mendicant orders, their 
revenues are stated at £43,333 per annum, besides their temporal 
goods ; and the supplicants add, that " four hundred years past 
these friars had not one penny of this money." | By the Stat. 22 
Hen. VIII. c. 12, all proctors and pardoners (or itinerant vendors of 
indulgences) going about in any country, without suflicient autho- 
rity, are to be treated as vagabonds. § 

To many of the friars, the necessity of seeking their subsistence 
in this manner must have been equally repugnant. When Luther 
was in the convent of St. Augustine, he was prevented by the 
superiors from shutting himself up in his cell, that he might pro- 
secute his studies, though offices the most menial had already been 
performed. They let him know that it was not by study, but by 
begging, that he was to benefit the cloister ; and we have an in- 
sight into the kind of alms they most coveted, from their own 

* Usher's Religion of the Ancient Irish, cap. vi. 

t Gicsler's Text-Book, § 123. J Taylor's Index Monasticus. 

§ TjTwhitt's Notes to the Canterbiu-y Tales, v. 710. 


enumeration : " bread, corn, eggs, fish, meat and money." " Cum 
sacco per civitatem !" Away with your wallet through the town ! 
cried the friars ; and, laden with his bread-bag, he had to wander 
through all the streets of Erfurth, begging from house to house. 
On his return he had to shut himself up in his cell, or resume his 
taskwork. The Franciscans, by the rule of their order, were com- 
manded to ask alms confidenter, which has been translated " stur- 
dily." The graphic pen of Chaucer draws the following picture in 
the Sumpnoure's Tale. It is intended as the portrait of a preacher 
in Holdernesse. 

" With scrippe, and tipped staf, ytucked hie, 
In every hous he gan to pore and prie, 
And begged mele and chese, or elles com. 
His felaw had a staf tipped with horn, 
A pair of tables all of ivory, 
And a pomtel ypolished fetislily, 
And wrote alway the names, as he stood, 
Of alio folk that gave hem any good, 
Askaunce that he wolde for hem preye, 
' Yeve us a bushel whete, or malt reye, 
A Goddes kichel, or a trippe of chese ; 
Or elles what you list, we may not chese, 
A Goddes halfpemiy, or a masse peny. 
Or yeve us of your braun, if ye have any, 
A dagon of your blanket, leve dame ! 
Omi sustre dere ! (lo, here I write your name) 
Bacon or beef, or s-\\iche thing as ye find.' 
A stm-dy harlot went hem, ay, behind, 
That was hu- hostes man, and bare a sakke. 
And what men yave hem laid it on his bakke." 
From these perversions of the original law of mendicancy, the 
priests of Budha are guarded by the rules laid down by their founder, 
which do not allow a single word to be spoken ; and when the bowl 
is sufficiently filled, the priest is to return to his dwelling and eat 
the food he has received, of whatever kind it may be. They are 
sufficiently rapacious in other respects, and their love of litigation 
has brought discredit upon their order; but when carrying the 
alms-bowl I have never seen them otherwise than observant of the 


From some of the above quotations it would appear that the vessel 
carried by the mendicants for receiving the alms that were pre- 
sented, was not always of the same description. The alms-bowl of 
the Budhist is a convenient article to carry, and answers all the 
purposes required by the priest, in countries where the green leaf, 


or the cocoa-nut shell, has not yet been superseded by articles of 
more complicated manufacture. There were some of the ancient 
ascetics in the east who went upon all fours, and ate their food like 
dogs. It is said, that when Diogenes savv a boy drink water out of 
the hollow of his hand, he took the cup from his wallet and threw 
it away, saying that the boy had exceeded him in frugality. The 
mendicant friars had a wallet or sack into which they put the pro- 
visions they received, and the Franciscans are represented as having 
their tunics full of pockets made for the same purpose. They some- 
times took persons with them to collect money, as they were not 
allowed to receive it themselves ; but this was contrary to an ex- 
press rule, as the Franciscans are forbidden (cap. iv.) to receive it 
in any form whatever, either themselves or by a substitute, " vel 
per se, vel per interpositam personam." There was a complaint 
(Alvarus Pelagius, ii. 6) against the Franciscans, that some of the 
brethren wandered through countries and cities, soliciting and de- 
manding pecuniary alms, frequently with great imi^ortunity, taking 
the servant backward, and filling their boxes and pockets with 
money ; and that some received money, either with wax, or with 
wood, or with the cloak, and carried it about sewed up in their 
habits, tunics, or hoods. 

In whatever country religious mendicancy is practised, the virtue 
of almsgiving will be raised to an undue elevation in the scale of 
merit. The ancient chronicles say that it was customary for the 
monarchs of Ceylon to give annually five times their own weight of 
treasure in alms. In an inscription at Pollonnaruwa, about A. d. 
1200, is is said that the king gave annually five times his own 
weight, and that of his two principal queens and son and daughter, 
of treasure, in alms to " the priests and the Brahmans." In 1818, 
Kappitapola was executed at Kandy for rebellion against the British 
government. Early in the morning he was taken to the temple, 
and as he knelt in the sanctuary the chief priest recounted the 
principal meritorious actions of his life, such as the benefits he had 
conferred on the priesthood, the gifts he had given to the temples, 
and other similar acts. He then pronounced his last wish, which 
was, that in the next birth he might be born in the forest of Himala 
and finally obtain nirwana. The priest, in an impressive manner, 
declared that his merits were great, and concluded a benediction by 
saying, "As sure as a stone thrown up into the air returns to the 
earth, so certainly will you, in consideration of your merit, be pre- 
sent at the next appearance of a Budha, and receive your reward." 


When aboiit to die, the rebel turned to the Commissioner, an 
English gentleman, and saying, " I give you a share of the merit 
of my last religious oifering," he unwound his upper cloth from his 
waist, and presented it to the temple, jocularly observing, that 
although it was ragged and foul, " the merit of the offering would 
not on that account be diminished, it being all he had to give." * 

From its necessary connexion with the circumstances of the re- 
cluse, and its prominence in the system of Gotama, it will be requi- 
site to enter upon the subject of almsgiving somewhat at lengths 
although many of the statements we shall have to make are puerile 
in the extreme, and would not in themselves, apart from the light 
they throw upon the system, justify the expenditure of the time 
that has been required for their compilation. The evils arising from 
this feature of the system appear to increase as years roll on ; and 
in consequence, the greater number of the following narratives are 
probably the invention of a period comparatively recent. They are 
principally taken from the works that are at present the most po- 
pular among the Budhists of Ceylon. 

The faithful are required to give in alms of that which they have 
honestly earned by their own personal exertions ; this offering is 
called dana, which means literally " a gift." There must be a 
willing mind respecting that which they offer, from the time that 
the intention of making the offering is formed to the time when it 
is presented, as well as after it has been made. There must be no 
regret for that which has been given, no wish to regain it. That 
which is thus given with a pure mind must be given to the Budhas, 
the Pase-Budhas (who arise in the period in which there is no su- 
preme Budha, and discover intuitively the way to nirwana, but are 
unable to teach it to others), the rahats, or the priests. It is re- 
quisite that the thing given, the intention of the giver, and the re- 
ceiver of the gift, be all pure. 

It is ever the rule of the Budhas to proclaim first the reward to 
be received for the giving of alms, and then to enforce the obser- 
vance of the precepts ; just as a child has some plaything given to 
it, whether it be a mimic plough, a bell, the sticks used in the game 
called kalli, a little bow and arrow, or a cart ; but when he arrives 
at riper years he has to work, in order that he may gain for him- 
self a livelihood. In the same way, the physician, when about to 
administer medicine, first mollifies the body of the patient by 

* Marshall's Description and Conquest of Ceylon. 


anointing it with oil for three or four days. The giving of alms 
softens the mind, and brings it into subjection, by which the ascetic 
is prepared for the exercise of the rites he is afterwards to practise. 

Pujawa is allied to duna, and is the ofFcring of flowers, lights, and 
rice. These must be presented continually to the three gems. 
There are four divisions of almsgiving when practised in relation to 
the priests, called siwpasadana. They are : — 1. Cliiwara-dana, the 
gift of robes. 2. Ahara-dana, the gift of food. 3. Sayanasana- 
dana, the gift of a pallet on which to recline. 4. Gilanapratya- 
dana, the gift of medicine or sick diet. 

There is also a dana called sanghika, which is divided into seven 
kinds. 1. The giving of robes, food, kc. to a supreme Budha, or 
his immediate disciples ; this is the chief of the seven. 2. The 
giving of these things to the priests and priestesses, when assem- 
bled together, with a relic of Budha in their midst. 3. The giving 
of these things to the priests alone, under similar circumstances. 
4. The giving of these things to the priestesses alone, under similar 
circumstances. 5. The giving of anything to the priests and 
priestesses, when permission has been previously asked. 6. The 
giving of anything to an individual priest, when permission has 
been previously asked from a sangha, or chapter of not less than 
four priests. 7. The giving of anything to a priestess, under similar 
circumstances. The reward that will be received for the offering 
of any of these gifts is like the atoms of the earth, it cannot be 

Of all the modes of acquiring merit, that of almsgiving is the 
principal ; it is the chief of the virtues that are requisite for the 
attainment of the Budhaship ; it is the first of the four great vir- 
tues, viz. almsgiving, afflibility, promoting the prosperity of others, 
and loving others as ourselves ; it is superior to the observance of 
the precepts, the path that all the Budhas have trod, a lineage to 
which they have all belonged. 

AVhen the gift, the giver, and the receiver are all pure, the re- 
ward is proportionately great. When the giver possesses that 
which is good, but presents in alms that which is bad, it is called 
dana-dasa ; when he gives according to that which he has, whether 
it be good or bad, it is dana-sahaya ; when he himself retains that 
which is bad but presents that which is good, it is dana-pati. The 
giver must have purity of intention. When he presents the gift he 
must think. May it be to me as a hidden treasure, that I may find 



again greatly increased, in a future birth. And he must think both 
before and after the gift is presented, that he gives to one who is 
possessed of merit. When any one gives that which has been pro- 
cured by his own labour, he will have as his reward wealth, but no 
retinue or attendants. When he gives that which he has received 
■from others, he will have attendants, but no wealth. When he 
gives both kinds he will have both rewards ; but when he gives 
neither, he will have neither of the rewards. Kala-dana is the 
giving of alms to strangers, travellers, and sick persons, and in 
times of famine, and the giving of the first-fruits whether of the 
garden or the field. When alms are given without thought or 
affection, or by the hand of another, or when they are thrown to 
the receiver disdainfully, or given only after long intervals, or with- 
out any hope of reward, it is asat-purusha-dana ; when the reverse, 
it is sat-purusha-dana. There is no reward for him who gives in- 
toxicating liquors, or makes offerings to the tirttaka heretics, or 
gives to those who only dance and play and sing or exhibit inde- 
cencies, or make obscene paintings in some public place ; but in 
some instances there may be a reward for those who give to musi- 
cians and singers, as when alms are given to those who beat the 
drum at religious festivals, or to the priest who chaunts the bana. 

When alms are given to some, and not to others, it is like a par- 
tial shower ; when they are given to all, it is like a universal rain ; 
but when any one only thinks to give, and does not give, it is like 
the gathering of the clouds and the thunder when there is no rain. 

He who gives alms in a proper manner will have continued joy ; 
he will be admitted to the society of the wise ; his fame will spread 
on all the six sides, and reach as high as the brahma-loka ; and 
after death he will be born in one of the dewa-lokas. The reward 
for the giving of alms is not merely a benefit that is to be received 
at some future period ; it promotes length of days, personal beauty, 
agreeable sensations, strength, and knowledge ; and if the giver be 
born as a man, he will have all these advantages in an eminent de- 

That which follows was declared by Gotama to Uggradewa- 
putra : — " There is no reward, either in this world or the next, that 
may not be received through almsgiving. By means of it the 
glories of Sekra, Mara, and Maha-Brahma (rulers of the celestial 
worlds), the Chakrawartti, the rahats, the Pase-Budhas, and the 
supreme Budha are received." 


When the five virtues of almsgiving are exercised, i. e. faith, ob- 
servance of the precepts, the hearing of bana, liberality, and wis- 
dom, the reward is appointed, whether it be in the brahma-loka, 
dewa-loka, or world of men, according to the wish formed by the 
giver ; but when alms are presented without these virtues, no re- 
ward is specially appointed, as a piece of wood when thrown into 
the air falls to the ground on any of its sides, just as it happens. 

There are some gifts that have a great reward from the giver, 
and none from the receiver ; some that have the same from the re- 
ceiver, and none from the giver ; some that have a reward from 
both ; and others that have a reward from neither. If the gift be 
presented with a pure mind, though the receiver be bad, it will be 
rewarded, as when Wessantara presented his children to the brah- 
man Jujaka, who was a bad man. Sometimes the giver is bad, 
and the receiver good ; but if both be bad the reward is small. A 
hunter once gave alms to one who did not observe the precepts, in 
order to benefit his brother who -was a preta sprite, but he derived 
no benefit therefrom. The hunter then gave alms to one who did 
observe the precepts, and his brother was released from the preta- 

If a vessel be made clean, and water be given from it, even to a 
worm, the gift will receive a reward ; how then can the full reward 
be told of those who give to men ? 

If any one gives food to dogs, crows, &c. with the intention of 
receiving merit, he will have long life, prosperity, beauty, power, 
and wisdom, in a hundred births. If any one gives food to a man 
who does not keep the precepts, with the same intention, he will 
have a similar reward in a thousand births ; if he gives food to one 
who keeps the precepts, but is not acquainted with the dharmma, 
he will receive a similar reward in myriads of births ; if to an upas- 
aka, an asankya of births (the asankya being a number that requires 
141 figures to express it) ; and yet more, in accumulative propor- 
tion, if to a samanera, an upasampada, one who has entered the 
paths, a rahat, a Pase-Budha, and a supreme Budha. In this pro- 
portion the reward accumulates : — according to the earth in a 
threshing-floor, in four miles, in sixteen miles, in the earth, in a 

In a former age Bodhisat was the son of a brahman, and was 
educated along with 100,000 princes from various parts of Jam- 
budwipa. When their education was completed, all the princes 

G 2 


invited him to go and live with them ; but he chose to reside at 
Benares, where he became the king's prohita, or prime minister. 
Each of the princes went every year to see the king, and whenever 
they went they took rich presents for the minister. After some 
time, he gave away all these presents in alms to beggars ; and the 
giving of the whole occupied seven years and seven months ; he 
gave golden alms-bowls, couches, chariots, elephants, and many other 
treasures. But the giving of food, on one single occasion, to any 
one who has entered the first path that leads to nirwana, would 
produce greater merit to the giver than all the gifts of the prohita. 
The giving of alms to one in the second path produces greater merit 
by one hundred times than when given to one in the first path ; 
and when given to one in the third, it produces greater merit by 
one hundred times than when given to one in the second ; and when 
given to a rahat, produces greater merit by one hundred times than 
when given to one in the third path. When given to a Pase-Budha, 
it produces greater merit by one himdred times than when given to 
a rahat. But when given to a supreme Budha it produces greater 
merit by sixteen times multi^jlied by itself sixteen times than when 
given to a Pase-Budha. We will suppose that there are rows of 
thrones upon which the disciples of Budha are seated, extending 
from one end of Jambudwipa to the other, and that there are ten 
rows occupied by those who have entered the first path ; five by 
those who have entered the second path ; two and a-half by those 
who have entered the third path ; one and a-half by rahats ; and 
one by Pase-Budhas. Now if all these were to receive an offering 
of alms, the merit of such an offering would be immensely great ; 
but a single offering made to a supreme Budha would surpass even 
this in merit. 

The narratives that illustrate the greatness of the reward to be 
received from the giving of alms are almost innumerable. They 
appear to vie with each other in the absurdity of their character ; 
and therefore a small selection from them will be regarded as more 
than sufficient. 

When the Bodhisat Sumeda was in the forest of Himala, a rishi, 
or holy sage, came to him and offered him three flowers. By this 
act the sage was saved during the whole of 30,000 kalj^as from 
being born in hell ; he was always either a dewa or a man, and 
Avhen born as man, he was always either of the royal or brahman 
caste. He was 500 times a dewa ; 300 times Sekra ; and in the 


time of Gotama, when he was a respectable brahman in Rajagaha, 
he entered the priesthood, and became a rahat. 

A florist named Sumana, who resided in Rajagaha, and presented 
to a former Budha eight nosegays of jessamine flowers, received in 
the same birth elephants, horses, sons, daughters, females beauti- 
fully arrayed, and villages, eight of each ; and eight of all kinds 
of ornaments, gems, and robes ; was preserved from being born in 
hell during a hundred thousand kalpas, received blessings without 
number in the world of men ; at last became the Pase-Budha Su- 
mana, and attained nirwana. 

There was a poor weaver, who resided near the mansion of a 
charitable nobleman, and when beggars enquired the way to it, he 
was accustomed to point out the road with his finger. For this he 
was afterwards born as the dewa of a tree, and by the lifting up of 
his finger he could in a moment produce whatever he desired. 

One day Budha and his priests went to a certain village to receive 
alms, but the people were unwilling to give them so much as a drop 
of water, until a female servant gave them a little from a vessel. 
As the water was poured out it did not become less, though she 
gave to all the priests. For this charitable act, she was afterwards 
born as a dewi. 

There was a family in Rajagaha, all the members of which fell sick 
and died, except one woman, who escaped from the house through a 
hole made in the wall.^' When at a little distance from the house she 
was approached by the priest Kasyapa, who was carrying the alms- 
bowl at the time, but as she had only a little dirty rice-gruel, she 
thought it was too mean to present as an ofiering. The priest 
however continued to remain near her, and as she thought it was 
out of kindness, she presented to him the gruel. For this she was 
born in the highest dewa-loka ; but she had also acquired great 
merit in previous births. 

There was a king of Ceylon, Sila Maha Tissa, who reigned in 
great splendour at Anuradhapura. In the earlier years of his reign, 
as he had heard that the most meritorious alms are such as are 
given from that which has been procured by personal labour, he 

* There is a disease called ahiwataka-roga, supposed to be caused by a 
pestilential blast, mixed with the breath of poisonous serpents, that comes 
upon a dwelling, when the Hies first die ; then the lizards and other reptdes ; 
afterwards cats, dogs, goats, and cattle ; and last of all human beings. There 
is no escape from it but by bursting tlirough the wall ; to depart through the 
door would be certain death. 


went in disguise to the harvest field, where he worked as a common 
labourer ; and when he received the walahana, the portion of rice 
that fell to his share as wages, he presented it to the priest Maha 
Suma. After this he worked three years in a sugar plantation, near 
the mountain Swarnnagiri, and gave the sugar that he received as 
Avages to the priests. Thus he who had thousands of treasure and 
many thousands of attendants, worked with his own hands, that 
he might give the produce in alms. 

In the time of Gotama Budha there was in the city of Sewet a 
rich man, who died, and the king of Kosala became the inheritor of 
his property. On going to worship Budha the king was late ; and 
when the sage asked the reason, he replied, "There was a rich man 
in our city, who had plenty of good food, but he would eat only 
that which was common ; Avhen proper garments were brought to 
him he refused them, and made his clothes of pieces of rags ; he 
went about in a shabby cart, covered by a leaf ; he is now dead, 
and as he has no relative to be his heir, I have taken possession of 
his wealth, which has detained me beyond the usual hour." Budha 
then said, " If there be a pond infested with devils, the people are 
afraid to approach it ; they do not bathe in it, nor do they drink the 
water ; and as there is no benefit from it, it is allowed to dry up. 
In like manner, the wealth of the unwise man is of no benefit to 
himself, his parents, his wife, or his children. The rich man of 
whom you speak had no advantage from his wealth in this world, 
and he will have none in the next ; he is now in the Rowra hell." 
The king enquired how it was that he had so much wealth, and no 
heart to enjoy it ; when Budha informed him that in a former birth 
he resided in Benares, a most uncharitable man ; but as he was one 
day going to the king's palace he met a Pase-Budha seeking alms, 
upon which he commanded one of his attendants to take him to his 
house, and order some food to be given to him. His wife thought 
this was something new, and gave him food of the richest kind, 
which he received but did not eat, as he began to say bana. On 
the rich man's return he looked into the alms-bowl, and when he 
saw its contents, he thought, " If this had been given to my cattle 
or my slaves, it might have done me some good." " For ordering 
this food," said Gotama, " his reward was the wealth he has just 
left ; but for afterwards regretting that food so good had been 
given, he was prevented from enjoying it." Thus it is necessary 
that what is given be given freely, with a spirit free from cove- 


In Rajagaha there was a man whose employment it was to cut 
sugar-cane. One day, as he was walking along with a bundle of 
canes over his shoulder, he was followed by an upasaka, carrying a 
child, which cried for some of the cane. At first he refused to give 
it any ; but afterwards threw for it a piece behind him. In the next 
birth he became a preta, and lived near a grove of sugar-cane ; but 
when from hunger he went to take any of the canes that he might 
eat them, they bent down and struck him, so that he had no means 
of appeasing his hunger. It happened that Mugalan (one of the 
principal disciples of Gotama Budha) passed that way, to whom 
the preta made known what had occurred to him ; when the priest 
informed him that it was in consequence of what he had done to a 
child in a former birth ; but he recommended him to try and seize 
the canes, with his face turned away from them, in the same man- 
ner as he had thrown the cane to the child ; which he did. The 
preta afterwards gave a cane to Mugalan as an offering, who pre- 
sented part of it to Budha ; and in the next birth the sprite became 
a dewa. Thus that which is given must be presented in a kind 
manner and with affection. 

In a former age Gotama Bodhisat was a man of wealth, and as 
he was exceedingly charitable, he afterwards became Sekra. His 
descendants for four generations were also charitable, and went to 
the same dewa-loka ; but the fifth was a great miser. Sekra there- 
fore called these dewas, and informing them that the merit of the 
family was now about to pass away, he directed them all to put on 
the appearance of brahmans, and go to the door of their former 
dwelling to ask alms. The first who went was ordered away ; but 
he repeated a stanza, for which he received permission to remain- 
The same occurrence happened to them all. Then the rich man 
told his slave to give them rice in the husk, but they would not 
receive it ; then unboiled rice, but they still refused it ; and after- 
wards such rice, boiled, as is given to oxen ; but when they at- 
tempted to eat it, it stuck in their throats, and they fell down as 
if dead. The master therefore told his slaves to take the rice away, 
and put in its stead such rice as he himself was accustomed to eat ; 
after which he called together the citizens, and said that as he had 
given them good rice, it was no fault of his that they were choked. 
Then Sekra assumed the appearance of a dewa, and exposed his 
deception ; but he also gave him good advice, telling him the merit 
of giving alms, by means of which he was induced to become 


charitable, and continued so until the day of his death, after which 
he was born a dewa. Thus, such food must be given as is com- 
monly used, when alms are presented, and not that which is of an 
inferior kind. 

A great feast was to be given to Piyumatura Budha and his 
priests, in a former age, by the citizens of Benares. The scribes 
went round from house to house, to know how many priests each 
householder would feed. Some gave their names for ten, and some 
for four hundred, according to their ability ; but there was a poor 
labourer who could only put his name down to feed one ; and he 
resolved that he would work a whole day, and devote whatever he 
received in wages to procure food for the priest. On arriving at 
home he informed his wife of the promise he had made, and she 
determined to assist him. The next day they both worked hard, 
and received good wages, with which they purchased the articles 
that were requisite for the feast. The merit of the couple being 
observed by Sekra, he went in disguise as a cook to the house, 
and requested employment. They told him their intention and 
circumstances ; but he agreed to assist them without wages, if they 
were unable to pay him. When all was ready, the man went to 
the scribe to enquire what priest he was to have ; but the scribe 
told him that, as he was so poor a man, he had paid no more 
attention to the matter. The labourer, on hearing this was sorely 
disappointed, and began to weep ; when the bystanders, who had 
been attracted to the place by his expressions of sorrow, recom- 
mended him to go and inform Piyumatura. Accordingly he went 
at once to the wihara, and Budha, who was at that moment coming 
out of his residence, put the alms-bowl in his hand, though kings 
and nobles were waiting to receive it, who offered him untold trea- 
sures if he would give it up ; but he still retained it. Budha went 
to his house, and partook of the food that had been prepared, which 
filled the whole city with its fragrance. As a reward for his cha- 
ritable act, Sekra filled the labourer's house with jewels; he was 
afterwards ennobled by the king, and, when he died, was born in 
a dewa-loka. 

In the time of Dipankara Budha, Gotama Bodhisat was a rich 
man in Benares, who gave alms in such abundance that the whole 
of Jambudwipa was as if " all the ploughs had been hung up :" all 
persons ceased from labour. When Sekra saw this he became 
alarmed, (thinking that the merit of the rich man would be so great 


as to entitle him to receive the office he himself then held as ruler 
of a celestial world) and destroyed all his remaining substance, 
except a sickle, a cord, and a yoke. With these Bodhisat went to 
cut grass, resolving to give half his earnings to the poor ; but when 
he saw so many in destitute circumstances he gave away the whole, 
and his wife and he had nothing to eat for the space of six days. 
At last he fainted away, when in the act of cutting grass. At this 
moment Sekra appeared to him, and offered to return him all his 
substance if he would cease to give alms ; but he refused to make 
a promise to this effect. However, as Sekra now found out that 
he did not do this to obtain his throne in Tawutisa, he became pro- 
pitious to him, and gave him an immensity of wealth. 

There was a certain noble who did not keep the precepts, but he 
one day presented a mango to a priestess. When he died, he was 
next born, by night a dewa with a thousand beautiful attendants, 
and by day a preta ; by night his body was like a flower of the 
garden, but by day like fire ; by night he had the usual number of 
fingers, but by day he had two claws. Thus he was alternately 
punished for his crimes, and rewarded for the giving of the mango. 
When Gotama, in the seventh year after he became Budha, went 
to the Tawutisa dewa-loka, Ankura and Indaka were the first of 
the dewas who went to hear bana. Even before the arrival of 
Sekra, Maha Brahma, Maheswara, and the other principal dewas, 
they approached the teacher of the three worlds. Indaka took 
his station on the right hand, and Ankura on the left ; but as the 
dewas successively arrived, Ankura gradually receded to a greater 
distance, until he was twelve yojanas from Budha, whilst Indaka 
remained at his original station. Before Budha commenced the 
saying of bana to the assembled dewas, he declared to them how it 
was that this difference had been caused, " In a former birth," 
said the sage, "Ankura presented an offering twelve yojanas in 
extent, and gave alms continually during 10,000 years ; but he 
gave always to the unworthy, as there were none in existence at 
that period who possessed merit. On the other hand, Indaka gave 
only a single spoonful of rice to the priest Anurudha. It is on 
account of the difference in the merit of those who received their 
respective gifts, that Indaka remains at my right hand, whilst 
Ankura retires to a distance." In like manner, when the husband- 
man scatters his seed in bad ground, though it be ever so much in 
quantity, the produce is small ; whilst he who scatters his seed in 


good ground, though the quantity be small, gains an abundant 


In this manner we might proceed, heaping together in palling 
profusion similar instances of the fertility of man's imagination, 
when that which concerns his subsistence is the object of regard. 
The noble principle implanted in the heart by God of sympathy, 
charity, or love, has in all ages been seized upon by men, who are 
either to be charged with selfishness, or with extreme ignorance of 
the teachings of the Avord of inspiration. How mournful the feel- 
ing that enters the spirit at the reading of such passages as the 
following, from the page of Chrysostom ! "The fire," says he, 
speaking of the lamps carried by the virgins mentioned in,the para- 
ble, " is virginity, and the oil is alms-giving. And in like manner 
as the flame, unless supplied with a stream of oil, disappears, so 
virginity, unless it have alms-giving, is extinguished. . , . Hast thou 
a penny, purchase heaven. . . . Heaven is on sale, and in the 
market, and yet ye mind it not ! Give a crust, and take back para- 
dise ; give the least, and receive the greatest ; give the perishable, 
and receive the imperishable ; give the corruptible, and receive the 
incorruptible. . . . Alms are the redemption of the soul. . . . Alms- 
giving, which is able to break the chain of thy sins. . . . Almsgiving, 
the queen of virtues, and the readiest of all ways of getting into 
heaven, and the best advocate there." * St. Eligius, or Eloi, in the 
seventh century, exhorts the people to make oblations to the church, 
that when our Lord comes to judgment they may be able to say, 
" Da, Domine, quia dedimus." f Again, in a similar strain, Edgar 
says of this virtue, " Oh, excellent almsgiving ! Oh, worthy reward 
of the soul ! Oh, salutary remedy of our sins !" It was usual to 
recommend this mode of obtaining liberation from guilt. Nor were 
arguments wanting to set forth the propriety of this course. 

" For many a man so hard is of hcrte, 
He may not wepe although him sore smerte : 
Therefore in stede of weping and praieres, 
Men mote give silver to the pom-c freres." 

Chaucer's Prologue, v. 229. 

By the exercise of charity the sick were taught to expect cures. 
The rich, as well as the poor, were accustomed to put a written 
schedule of their sins under the cloth which covered the altar of a 

* Taylor's Ancient Christianity, 
t Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History. 


favourite saint, accompanied by a donation ; and a day or two after- 
wards, when they re-examined the schedule, the virtues of the 
saint had converted it into a blank. '^^ 

Here we must pause. If these statements be true ; if this be 
the appointment of God, how are we to reconcile with it the decla- 
rations of Scripture, that represent the redemption of man as re- 
quiring for its accomplishment the richest ransom that the whole 
universe can provide? Either these ancient teachers were mis- 
taken, or Jesus of Nazareth died in vain. But, as Christ is " the 
wisdom of God," " in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowledge," all his acts must be invested with an infinite pro- 
priety and fitness ; and it must have behoved him to suff'er. There- 
fore, if man would seek to enter heaven, it must be by the method 
that He has appointed. Our hope of immortality cannot be fixed 
upon saintly absolution purchased by an obolus ; the merits in 
which we are to trust are those of Him, " in whom we have re- 
demption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to 
the riches of his grace ; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all 
wisdom and prudence." Apart from this trust, and the charity 
welling up from the purity of principle it instils, I may bestow all 
my goods to feed the poor, and give my body to be burned, but it 
will profit me nothing. Yet, how full of all that is beautiful are 
the arrangements of God ! We need not look out for some rahat 
or Budha upon whom to bestow ovir alms, lest we fail of receiving 
an adequate reward. In the day when the eternal crowns shall be 
distributed to the victors of the cross, " the King shall answer and 
say unto them. Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it 
unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto 
me." How afiecting the example that is presented for our imita- 
tion ! " Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though 
he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his 
poverty might be rich." "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved 
us, and hath given himself for us." How exact, how discriminating, 
how powerfully impressive, are the words of the law ! " As ye 
have opportunity, do good unto all men." " To do good and to 
communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well 
pleased." Where little is given, little is required ; where much is 
given, much is required. "Not grudgingly, or of necessity, for 
God loveth a cheerful giver." 

* Fosbroke's British Monachism. 



In taking upon himself the ten obligations, the priest of Budha 
resolves, according to the fifth, to refrain from the use of intoxicating 
drinks, as it is said that they lead to indifference towards religion. 
But the use of animal food is not absolutely forbidden ; and in the 
Avhole economy of the institute there is a general indifference upon 
this question, which is in powerful contrast to the requirements of 
other orders of ascetics. This may have arisen from the fact that 
Gotama Budha died from eating pork ; a circumstance too well 
known to be set aside by the more rigid of his disciples, who might 
otherwise have been ready to insist upon a dietetic discipline more 
extensive in its prohibitions. But although in certain cases, as in 
times of sickness, animal food is allowed, there are many regula- 
tions intended to guard against the abuse of this privilege. 

We shall generally find that, when any of our natural desires are 
debarred the indulgence that they seek, the other appetites, that 
are not under the same restraint, will exert their liberty with the 
greater freedom. Hence it is to be supposed that the founder of an 
ascetic institute will here meet with one of his greatest perplexities. 
And his task is the more difficult, as eating and drinking cannot, 
like a luxury or a mere vanity, be entirely forbidden. The laws of 
the priesthood, as they appear in the Patimokkhan, are numerous 
and comprehensive ; but there is no rule relative to diet the breach 
of which is attended with permanent exclusion, suspension, or 
penance. The people of Ceylon not unfrequently express their 
displeasure against the priests, on the ground that they urge them 
to bring meat curries as offerings, whilst vegetable preparations are 
received with disdain. They appear to have degenerated since the 
time of Robert Knox, who says, " The people reckon it one of the 
chief points of godness to abstain from eating any flesh at all, be- 
cause they would not have any hand, or anything to do, in killing 
any living thing; they reckon herbs and plants more genial food." 

According to the Patimokkhan, no priest is allowed to partake 
;of food after the sun has passed the meridian. When ghee, butter, 
/oil, honey, sugar, or other articles included in what is regarded as 
sick diet are received, they may not be kept in store by the priest 
more than seven days ; unless in case of sickness, he may not re- 
ceive food more than one day at a place where provisions are pre- 


pared for a number of persons ; unless upon authorised occasions, 
he may not partake of food provided expressly for a number of 
priests ; he may not, unless upon authorised occasions, eat his 
ordinary meal before going by invitation to any place to receive an 
offering of food ; when, at any place, more than two or three bowls 
full of rice or other grain are presented to him, he may not accept 
them, unless he share them with the other priests ; when a meal is 
given at any house, he may not, after receiving it, partake of food 
given by another person ; no priest shall tempt another priest, who 
has already partaken of a meal given by invitation, to eat more, 
unless it be of food reserved from the same occasion ; the priest 
may not partake of food reserved from the previous day ; unless 
when sick, he may not solicit such luxuries as ghee, butter, oil, 
honey, sugar, fish and flesh, milk or curds ; he may not with his 
own hand give food to a naked or wandering ascetic ; when going 
with the alms-bowl, he may not enter a house ; when invited, 
along with other priests, to partake of food at any place, he may 
not go before or after the appointed time, unless he inform the 
other priests ; when any one offers to provide the proper diet for a 
priest in case he should be sick, he may not avail himself of it after 
the lapse of four months from the time it is given ; he may not 
receive food from the alms-bowl of a priestess ; unless when sick, 
he may not go to the house of one of the faithful (out of the ordi- 
nary course) to receive refreshments, without an invitation ; and 
the priest who resides in a dangerous place, and has food brought 
to him, must warn those who bring it of their danger. 

The food given in alms to the priest is to be received by him 
meditatively ; it is not to be received carelessly, so that in the act 
of being poured into the alms-bowl some may fall over the sides ; 
the liquor and the solid food are to be received together, without 
being separated ; and the alms-bowl is not to be piled up above the 
mouth. The food is also to be eaten meditatively, with care, so 
that it is not scattered about ; without picking and choosing, the 
particles that come first to hand being first to be eaten ; the liquor 
and the solid food are to be eaten together, not beginning in the 
centre, and heaping the food up, nor covering the liquor with rice. 
The priest, unless when sick, may not ask for rice or curry to eat ; 
he may not look with envy into the bowl of another ; nor eat mouth- 
fuls larger than a pigeon's egg, but in small round balls ; he may 
not fill the mouth, nor put the hand into the mouth when taking 


food ; nor talk when his mouth is full ; nor allow particles to drop 
from his mouth; nor swallow his food without being properly 
masticated ; and one mouthful must be swallowed before another 
is taken. He may not shake his hand to free it from the particles 
that may be attached to it, nor may the food be scattered about, 
nor the tongue put out, nor the lips smacked, nor the food sucked 
up with a noise. He may not lick his hands, nor the bowl, nor his 
lips, when he eats. A vessel of water may not be taken up when 
the hand is soiled from eating, and the rincing of the bowl is not 
to be carelessly thrown away. No priest can partake of food unless 
he be seated. 

It will be remarked, that the rules relative to the manner of 
eating are here laid down with the utmost precision. We can 
imagine that, at the commencement of Budhism, as men of all 
grades were admitted to the priesthood, many rudenesses would be 
exhibited that would be extremely offensive in the sight of the 
prince whose doctrines they had embraced ; and that it could only 
be by a series of regulations stooping down to the commonest acts 
they would be prevented from bringing the priestly character into 
contempt. It was therefore necessary to make laws, not only as to 
the quantity and character of the food, but also as to the manner in 
which it was to be eaten. From this we have an insight into the 
manners of the times, in reference to a class of society to which the 
ancient historian seldom directed his attention, owing to whose neg- 
lect in this particular we are ignorant of the manners of the mass, 
even when the conduct of monarchs and nobles is recorded with a 
fulness that is offensive. 

The hours in Avhich it is forbidden to eat food are called wikala. 
The appointed hours are from sunrise to the end of the fifteenth 
hour, i. e. until the sun has passed the meridian. The food that is 
eaten in any other part of the day or night is called wikala- 
bhojana; and by the sixth of the ten obligations the priest pro- 
fesses that he will reject this untimely or unseasonable food.* 

The priests are commanded by Budha to be contented with as 
much as is requisite to appease th&ir hunger, when they take the 
alms-bowl from house to house, and not to loiter on the ground ; 
as those who eat more than a sufficient quantity will be led to take 
life and steal, and commit the five deadly sins, whilst those who are 
temperate will be enabled readily to keep the precepts, and practise 

* Sadharmmaratnakare. 


all the ordinances that are prescribed. There were a certain num- 
ber of parrots in the Himalayan forest that went from tree to tree, 
feeding upon the fruits they found ; but thei'e was one parrot that 
always remained upon the same tree, and when it died, it fed upon 
the bark. This was seen by Sekra, who as a reward for the mode- 
ration of the parrot, caused the tree to live again, and to put forth 
leaves and fruit. This example is worthy of being imitated by the 

At one time Seriyut and Mugalan (the two principal priests of 
Gotama Budha) went into a forest for the benefit of solitude ; but 
Mugalan fell sick. When Seriyut asked him if he had ever been 
attacked in the same way before, he said that he had when young ; 
and when he further asked by what means he had been cured, he 
said that his mother had made him a confection of certain ingre- 
dients. This was overheard by a dewa that resided in a neigh- 
bouring tree, who went and informed the persons of a house where 
Seriyut was accustomed to go to receive alms. The ingredients re- 
quired for the confection were therefore put into his bowl, and he 
took them to the sick priest. When Mugalan looked with his 
divine eyes to see by what means this had been brought about, he 
saw that it was through what he himself had said. But as it was 
given through what he had said, and to receive it would have been 
contrary to the precept, he threw the whole away ; in that instant, 
however, the pain left him, and never returned again, though he 
lived afterwards forty-five years. 

There was a priest in Chiwara Gumba who, when suffering from 
hunger, would not eat the fruit that had fallen from a tree, because 
it had not been given him by the owner ; rather than break the 
precept by eating it, he suffered life to become nearly extinct, and 
was found in this condition by an upasaka, who took him upon his 
back, and while thus carried he attained rahatship. 

On one occasion, when Gotama and his priests were in Weranja, 
a famine prevailed so extensively that the priests were not able to 
procure any food from the people when going from house to house 
with the alms-bowl : and they were compelled to live on some hard 
barley-cakes used as provender for horses. f The priest Mugalan 
requested permission to exert his supernatural power in order to 
obtain food, but the exercise was forbidden by Budha. 

* Milinda Prasna. 

t Gogerly's Essay on Budhism, Journ. Ceylon Royal As. Soc. i. 79. 


The priest is not to eat as a pastime, nor for pleasure ; nor to 
make the body strong, like the public wrestlers ; nor to render it 
beautiful, like the dancers. As a man with a falling house props 
it up, as a man with a broken waggon puts in a piece of wood ; so 
may the priest eat to preserve his body and prevent untimely death. 
As hunger is the most powerful of all the appetites, he may eat to 
ward it off. As a man and woman, when crossing a vast desert 
with a child, if their food fails them, eat the flesh of their own 
child in their anxiety to escape from the desert, with similar dis- 
gust must the priest eat his food, that he may escape from the 
evils of existence.* 

It is said in the Wisudhi Margga Sanne, that there are ten modes 
of defilement (pratikula sangignya) produced by food, as seen under 
the following circumstances. 1. In going to the place where it is 
to be received. 2. Its reception. 3. The act of eating. 4. The 
ingredients with which it combines. 5. Its place of deposit. 6, 
Before it is digested. 7. After it is digested. 8. The fruit it 
produces. 9. Its discharge or emission. 10. The pollution from 
its touch. 

1. In the journey that the priest must undertake to procure food, 
he will have to pass along roads that are difficult, dangerous, and 
dirty ; he will be exposed to wind and cold ; and he will see many 
disagreeable objects, filth of all kinds. 2. As he waits in different 
places to receive food, insects will come from dirty places and settle 
on his robe, and in his bowl ; some persons will tell him to go 
away, whilst others will take no notice of him. whatever, or look at 
him as if he were a thief, or perhaps abuse him ; and in passing 
from place to place he will have to encounter foul smells and tread 
on many kinds of refuse. 3. In eating the food there will be many 
things to cause shame ; the tongue must do the work of the hand, 
and before the food is swallowed it must be made of the consistence 
of the vomit thrown up by a dog. 4. When the food has passed 
into the stomach it becomes foul and corrupt. Even in the bodies 
of the Chakrawarttis and Budhas there are bile, phlegm, and blood. 
If the bile be too abundant, the food that has been eaten will be- 
come like mee oil ; if the phlegm be too abundant, it will become 
like the juice of the keliya or nagabala fruit ; and if the blood be 
too abundant, it will become like red dye. 5. The place to which 
the food descends is not a vessel of gold ; in a child ten years of 

* Wisudhi Margga Sanne. 

IX. THr; DIET. 97 

age it is like a privy that has been used as many years without 
being cleaned, increasing in loathsomeness with the age of the in- 
dividual. 6. ^^^len a shower in the hot season falls upon a village 
inhabited by low people, it runs into the cess at the extremity of 
the place, abounding with all kinds of filth ; and when the sun 
arises fi'oth and bubbles are formed upon the surface of this com- 
post. In like manner, when food is taken into the body, in a little 
time it is mixed with all kinds of impure secretions, and the jata,- 
ragni, or digestive fire, working upon the mass, causes it to appear 
with a surface like that of the compost. 7. When the food is 
digested, it docs not become gold or gems, but is changed into 
excrement and urine. 8. The food passes away from the body by 
the nine apertures, but principally by the intestinal passage ; and a 
part of it is ejected by the pores of the skin. 10. When the food 
is eaten it soils the fingers, teeth, and tongue ; and even by con- 
tinual washing it is not possible to take away the defilement and 

These are the ten modes by which the defilement arising from 
food is exhibited ; and they are steadily to be meditated on by 
the priest, that the desire of food may be taken away. By this 
means, though nirwana should not be obtained, it will secure an 
inheritance in one of the celestial worlds. 

The third of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Pindapatikanga, 
from pinda, pieces or morsels, and pata, falling, from the falling of 
the particles of food into the bowl of the priest. He who keeps 
this ordinance cannot receive food which has been given under any 
of the following circumstances : — for the sake of an assemblage of 
priests ; that which has been given at an appointed time, or by in- 
vitation ; that which is given to a certain number of priests, by 
sending them a tally, or some instrument upon which the number 
of the priests that are invited is marked : food given on a certain 
number of days in each half-moon ; on the days called poya ; on 
the day after the full-moon poya : food prepared for priests who 
are strangers, after their arrival ; for priests who are going on a 
journey ; for sick priests ; for those priests who minister to their 
sick companions : food given statedly to a temple ; regularly and 
constantly given ; or given by the people of any village on certain 
appointed days. Thus there are fourteen different descriptions of 
food that are not to be received by the priest who keeps this ordi- 
nance. When food has been prepared for the assembly, it may be 



received by the priest without breaking the law if he has not been 
told for what purpose it was originally intended ; or he may receive 
it from any place where food is given to an assembly regularly and 
without interruption, under certain circumstances. 

When the priest who keeps the superior ordinance goes with the 
bowl to receive food, he may receive it from the house either imme- 
diately before or behind him, or from the halls where food is con- 
stantly given ; but should any one say, " Do not carry the bowl to- 
day ; I will take what is necessary to the place where you dwell," 
he may not receive the food that in this way is offered. He who 
keeps the middle ordinance may in this way receive food that is 
not more than sufficient for one day ; bvxt if the person offers to 
bring it the next day, it must be refused. The inferior ordinance 
allows the food to be thus received on three successive days, but 
not longer. 

The second of the Twelve Sacred Observances of the Chinese is 
also called pin'd'apatika, according to which the priest is to procure 
his food by taking the bowl, in order that he may extinguish all 
desire. He may not accept the invitation of any one. He must 
seek the nourishment that is necessary for the support of his mate- 
rial body and the accomplishment of his moral duties. He must 
make no difference with the food he receives, whether it be good 
or bad, nor feel any resentment in cases where he meets with a re- 
fusal, but keep his mind at all times in perfect tranquillity.'^' 

The fifth of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Ekasanikanga, 
from eka, one, and asana, a seat. He who keeps this ordinance 
may not eat food in two or three different places ; he is to remain 
on one seat until he has finished his repast. When in the refectory 
he must look out for a proper seat, so that if a superior priest were 
to come in, he may not have to rise, in order to give place to him. 
Chulabaya, learned in the sacred books, spake thus : — It is not 
proper to rise until the repast be finished ; if the priest has sat 
down, but not begun to eat, he may rise ; but if he has begun to 
eat, he may not rise, and if it should be required of him to rise, he 
may not sit down again to eat. 

The priest who keeps the superior ordinance cannot receive more 
food than that which he has when he first sits down, though it be 
ever so little in quantity ; but he may receive oil or honey, or any- 
thing that is allowed as sick diet, when he is not in health. He 

* Remusat's Relation des Royaumes Bouddhiques, p. 60. 


who keeps the middle ordinance may receive anything that is given 
to him previous to the end of his repast. He who keeps the inferior 
ordinance may receive more food, even though his repast be done, 
if he has not risen from his seat. He who eats again after he has 
risen from his seat breaks this ordinance. 

The fourth of the Twelve Sacred Observances of the Chinese is 
called eka panika, and is said to mean the rejection of a multipli- 
city of repasts, and the adopting of the custom of having one 

The sixth of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Pattapindikanga, 
from patta, the alms-bowl, and pinda, morsels. He who keeps this 
ordinance must eat from one vessel only. If he have at the same 
time liquid food and solid, he may eat first the one and then the 
other, but he may not put them in two separate vessels. If flesh 
has been put to the liquid, it must still be eaten without thinking 
of its disagreeable qualities, even though loathing should be caused; 
yet if vomiting follow, on the next occasion on which it is received, 
it may be separated from the other food. If any one receive sugar 
or honey, or anything else that is good to be taken with the liquid, 
they may be taken together. Though the priest eats from one 
vessel only, he may not take more than a proper quantity ; all that 
he eats must first be put in the alms-bowl, even though it were 
something he might take in his fingers, as pepper-pods ; Avhat 
others might put on a leaf, must not by him be so put. 

The priest who keeps the superior ordinance may throw away 
the refuse of sugar-cane, when he has sucked the juice, but all 
other things that are in the bowl he must eat ; he may not break 
flesh, cakes, or any other substance, either with his teeth, hands, 
or an instrument, in order to divide it. He who keeps the middle 
ordinance may break his food with one hand, whilst holding the 
bowl with the other. He who keeps the inferior ordinance may 
break anything that is put into the bowl, in any way whatever. 
Any of the three who cats from a second vessel breaks this ordi- 

The seventh of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Khalupach'ha- 
bhattikanga, from khalu, forbidden ; pach'hti, after ; and bhatta, 
period of time : khalu is also a bird, that when eating any fruit, if 
it lets it fall, eats no more that day. The priest who keeps this 
ordinance cannot eat any more after he has met with that Avhich is 

* Remusat's Ilelation des Royaumcs Bouddhiqucs. 

H 2 


akapa, i.e. if he has, for any reason, to refuse that which is brought 
to him when he is eating ; or if he be presented with, that which is 
improper to be eaten, from its loathsomeness or otherwise. 

He wlio keeps the superior ordinance may only eat that which is 
in his mouth, and nothing more, although even the first handful of 
food that he takes is akapa. He who keeps the middle ordinance 
may eat that which is akapa but nothing more. He who keeps 
the inferior ordinance may eat as long as he remains on one seat. 

The fifth of the Twelve Sacred Observances of the Chinese is 
called in Sanskrit khaloupas"waddhaktinka, and is said to enjoin 
that the food obtained by the mendicant is to be divided into three 
portions ; one to be given to any person whom he sees to be suffer- 
ing from hunger, and a second to be carried to some quiet place in 
the forest, and placed upon a stone for the birds and beasts. If he 
does not meet with any one who is in want, he is not to eat the 
whole of the food that he has received, but two-thirds only. By 
this means his body will be lighter and more active, and his diges- 
tion quicker and less laboiired. He will be able readily to enter 
upon the practice of all good works. When any one eats too 
greedily, the intestines and belly become gross, and respiration is 
impeded. Nothing is more hurtful to the development of reason.* 

It is said in the Wisudhi Margga Sanne that the priest who 
keeps the Thirteen Ordinances is to avoid the usual food of men, as 
ghee, honey, and sugar ; and live on such things as galls and the 
urine of goats. 

; By many of the Budhists it is considered to be an act of great 
•merit to make a vow never to partake of food without giving a por- 
tion to the priests. On one occasion, the monarch Duttagamini thus 
meditated : — In my childhood, my father and mother administered 
an oath to me, that I should never make a meal without sharing it 
with the priesthood. Have I, or have I not, ever partaken of a 
meal without sharing it with the priesthood ? While thus ponder- 
ing, he recollected that he had eaten a round chilly, or pepper-pod, 
at his morning meal, in a moment of abstraction, without reserving 
any part of it for the priesthood. He therefore decided that it was 
requisite for him to perform penance on that account, and he after- 
wards built a dagoba and wihara to expiate the crime.* 

The subject of diet has not only engaged the anxious attention af 

* Remusat's Relation des Royaumes Bouddhiques, 
t Turnoiu-'s Mahawanso, cap. xxvi. 

IX. THE DIKX. 101 

the founders of monastic institutions, but lias also been regarded by 
legislators and moralists who have been under no such influence as 
the superstitions of the ascetic. It would be seen at once that the 
use of food, either to an excessive degree, or when jirepared in a 
luxurious manner, unfitted men for the right performance of reli- 
gious exercises, and that intoxicating liquors taken to excess had a 
moral effect still more to be reprehended. Hence the enforcement 
of various prohibitions relative to the quality and quantity of food ; 
in some instances, however, applying only to particular classes of 
individuals, or to certain seasons. The brahman student is to be- 
ware of eating anything between morning and evening."^' Accord- 
ing to the Institutes of Manu (v. 51, 52, 53), "he who makes the 
flesh of an animal his food, is a principal in its slaughter ; not a 
mortal exists more sinful than he who, without an oblation to the 
manes or gods, desires to enlarge his own flesh with the flesh of 
another creature : the man who performs annually for a hundred 
years, an aswamedha, or sacrifice of a horse, and the man who ab- 
stains from flesh-meat, enjoy for their virtue an equal reward." 
The only fast required of the Jews was on the great day of atone- 
ment. On one occasion Daniel mourned " full three weeks," and 
during this period " ate no pleasant bread," nor did flesh or wine 
come into his mouth. — Dan. x. 2. The Hebrew priests were not 
allowed to drink wine or strong drink when they went into the 
tabernacle of the congregation, Lev. x. 9; but it was supposed that 
they did not break this command if they drank no more than a log, 
or an egg-shell and a-half. By the regulations of the Orphic bro- 
therhood the use of animal food was forbidden. The Essenes were 
permitted to partake of only a single plate of one kind of food ; and 
as they took an oath at the time of their initiation, not to partake 
of any food that was not cooked by one of their own number, those 
who for any fault w-ere excommunicated from their society were re- 
duced to extreme distress, and sometimes perished from hunger. 
The rule prescribed by Manes may be sufficient to represent the 
practices of the early heretics. He insisted upon an entire absti- 
nence from flesh, eggs, milk, fish, wine, and all intoxicating drinks ; 
and his disciples were to support their shrivelled and emaciated 
bodies with bread, herbs, pulse, and melons. The followers of 
Saturninus, or the Syrian Gnostics, refused to partake of animal 
food, in order that they might avoid all contact w'ith the evil prin- 

* Miuiu, Inst. ii. oG. 


ciple, Avhich they supposed to be matter ; and they taught that all 
those souls who purpose to return to God after death must abstain 
from wine, flesh, and wedlock, and from all that tends to sensual 
gratification. Both Pythagoras and Empedokles prohibited the 
eating of animal food, from the supposition that there is a Koivwvia 
between gods, animals, and men. 

The rule of entire abstinence from flesh, though generally in- 
sisted upon, was not of universal obligation among the ancient 
Vimonks. The Carthusians are not allowed to eat flesh, even in the 
most dangerous sickness. They fast eight months in the year, and 
in Lent, Advent, and all Fridays, reject all white meats, as eggs, 
milk, butter, and cheese. On Sundays and holidays they eat to- 
gether in a common refectory, but on other days they dine alone in 
their cells, their food being carried to them by a lay brother, who 
puts it into each cell at a little window, without speaking a word. 
They are not permitted to eat in any other place but the convent, 
nor to drink anything but water. According to the rule of Bene- 
dict, the monks were allowed as their daily portion (Reg. 33, 40) 
twelve, or eighteen, ounces of bread, a hemina of wine, and two 
dishes of vegetables. The flesh of quadrupeds was strictly pro- 
hibited, except to the feeble and the sick. When the Lombards, 
in 580, destroyed the abbey in which Benedict had resided on 
Mount Cassino, the abbot escaped to Rome, taking with him the 
weight of the bread and the measure of the wine which were the 
daily allowance of each monk. No monk is allowed to eat out of 
the monastery, unless he is at such a distance that he cannot return 
the same day. The Cistertians never eat flesh except in times of 
dangerous sickness ; unless upon extraordinary occasions, they ab- 
stain also from eggs, butter, milk, and cheese, but they can make 
xise of these articles of diet when they have been given in alms. 
From the Scptuagesima until Easter flesh is banished even from 
the infirmaries. They all take their food together in the refectory. 

" In preieres and penaunces 
Putten hem manye, 
Al for the love of om-e Lord 
Lyveden ful streyte, 
In hope to have after 
Hevene rich blisse ; 
As ancres and heremites 
That holden hem in hhe selles, 
And coveiten noght in contree 
To carien aboute, 
For no likevous liflodc 
' Hii'e likame to" — Pieys Plour/hman, v. 49. 



We have seen that the use of wine was not universally for- 
bidden ; but by the early canons the ascetics were prohibited from 
entering a public house. In the Anglo-Saxon church the priest 
was enjoined " to keep aloof from all parties assembled for the pur- 
pose of singing and carousing, and above all to preserve himself 
from drunkenness, the besetting sin of his countrymen." By the 
council of Cloveshoe, all inhabitants of monasteries are forbidden 
to drink to excess themselves, or to encourage such excess in 
others ; they are to exclude from their entertainment coarse un- 
seemly amusements, and never to allow their cells to become the 
resort of gleemen, harpers, and buffoons. Yet Alcuin accuses them 
of being addicted to " secret junketings, and furtive compota- 
tions."* In 1521, in the abbey of Whalley, containing about 
twenty monks, there was expended for red wine, the sum of £33 
15s. 8f/. ; and for white or sweet wine, £9, which at the rate at 
which wdne was then sold would give about eight pipes per 
annum.f The monks of Sallay brewed annually 255 quarters of 
malted oats and 104 of barley, and as the whole establishment con- 
sisted of about seventy persons, each individual would consume 
about 300 gallons annually ; but a large allowance must be made 
for hospitality. :]; 

Many of the earlier ascetics took only one meal daily, which was 
generally after sunset ; some fasted three or four days without any 
nourishment whatever; and even when partaking of food they 
lived only on wild herbs and roots, or on pulse steeped in cold 
water, and never touched anything that had passed the fire. The 
water that they drank was sometimes kept until it was offensive. 
From the time of his conversion, Pachomius never ate a full meal. 
Paul, the Thebaean, had half a loaf brought him every day, by a 
raven, except upon one occasion when he was visited by Anthony, 
and the provident bird brought a whole one. According to Athan- 
asius, the food of Anthony was bread and salt, and his drink water ; 
whilst feeding upon this diet, he neither became fatter nor thinner ; 
and his meals were taken in private, as he was ashamed that he 
was obliged to eat. An account of the daily food of Hilarion has 
been preserved. From his twenty-first to his t^venty-seventh year, 
he ate at first lentiles in half-a-pint of cold water, and afterwards 

* I>ingard's Anglo-Saxon Church, 
t Whitaker's Ilistory of Whalley. 
♦: Whitakcr's History of the Deanery of Craven. 


bread, salt, and water; from his twenty- seventh to his thirtieth 
5^ear, wild herbs and undressed roots ; from his thirty-first to his 
thirty-fifth year, six ounces of barley bread and parboiled cabbage 
without oil. But finding that he was becoming near-sighted, and 
his skin scurfy he added a little oil. From sixty-four till eighty he 
abstained altogether from bread, and substituted five ounces of a 
compound of flour and chopped cabbage.'^" Palladius contented 
himself with four or five oimces of bread daily, and one small vessel 
of oil in a year. Simeon Stylites took only one meal in the week, 
which was on the Sabbath. In Lent, he fasted so long that I must 
give the account in the words of my authority, lest I be accused of 
exaggeration. " At the foot of Mount Thelanissa," says Alban 
Butler, " he came to the resolution of passing the whole forty days 
of Lent in total abstinence, after the example of Christ, without 
either eating or drinking. Bassus, a holy priest, and abbot of 200 
monks, who was his director, and to whom he had communicated 
his design, had left with him ten loaves and water, that he might 
eat if he found it necessary. At the expiration of the forty days 
he came to visit him, and found the loaves and water untouched, 
but Simeon stretched out on the ground, almost without any signs 
of life. Taking a sponge, he moistened his lips with water, then 
gave him the blessed eucharist. Simeon, having recovered a little, 
rose up, and chewed and swallowed by degrees a few lettuce leaves 
and other herbs. This was his method of keeping Lent during the 
remainder of his life." Catherine, of Sienna, accustomed herself to 
so rigorous an abstinence, that the eucharist was nearly the Avhole 
nourishment she took ; and once she fasted, with the exception of 
what she took in the eucharist, from Ash Wednesday to Ascension 
Day. The food that Basil took was so small in quantity, that he 
appeared to live without it, and to have put on beforehand the life 
angelic. Paul, of Mount Latrus, for some weeks had no other 
subsistence than green acorns, which caused him at first to vomit, 
even to blood. A countryman sometimes brought him a little 
coarse food, but he principally lived upon what grew wild upon 
the mountain. When he wanted water, a constant spring was pro- 
duced near his dwelling. In the midst of these privations, the 
ascetics preserved their equanimity, even upon the most trying 
occasions. Once, when Ephralm, of Edessa, had fasted several 
days, the brother who was bringing him a mess of pottage made 

* Encyclopirdia Metropolitana, art. Hei-mit ; Hospiniauus, De Monachis. 

IX. THE DIET. 10.) 

with a few herbs, let the pot fall, and broke it. The saint seeing 
him in confusion, said cheerfully, " As our supper will not come to 
us, let us go to it ; " then sitting down he picked up his meal from 
the ground. When Arscnius, Avho had been a courtier, presented 
himself for admission before the monks of Scete, he was allowed to 
stand whilst the monks took their repast, and no notice was taken 
of him ; but John the Dwarf, took a piece of bread and threw it 
down on the ground before him, upon which Arsenius fell down, 
and in that posture cheerfully ate the bread. Germanus began 
every meal by putting a few ashes in his mouth, and the bread he 
ate was from barley he had himself threshed and ground. Francis 
generally put ashes or water upon what he ate, even when it was 
only a little coarse bread.* Piers Ploughman says, v. 4086 : — 

" Ac ancres and heremites 
That eten noght but at nones, 
And na-moore er the morwe, 
Mjni almesse shul thei have. 
And of catel to kepe hem with, 
That han-cloistres and chirches." 

These legends are many of them incredible, and nearly all of 
them absurd. The only meats from which the Christian is to 
abstain are those offered to idols, and blood, and things strangled. 
— Acts XV. 29. We may eat "whatsoever is sold in the shambles ;"' 
and it is regarded by St. Paul as the sign of " a departing from the 
faith," a giving heed to " seducing spirits and doctrines of devils," 
when men command us " to abstain from meats, which God hatli 
created to be received Avith thanksgiving of them which believe and 
know the truth : for every creature of God is good, and nothing to 
be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving." — 1 Tim. iv. 3. 
The law of the Lord inculcates the relinquishment of certain kinds 
of food for an especial reason, and men make the law universal ; 
they forget the reason, and make a merit of the act. The word of 
God enjoins temperance, and man demands total abstinence. These 
are perversions that may in some instances produce a temporary 
good, but they are in danger of inflicting a permanent evil upon the 
church by setting another law above the revealed will of God, or by 
carrying out one branch of that will to an undue extent, putting a 
part in place of the whole, and thus infringing God's prerogative as 

* Albau Butler, passim : Professor Emerson, Andover, in the Bibliotheca 


the supreme legislator. The religion of Christ is one of cheerful- 
ness and holy joy ; the primitive believers " did eat their meat with 
gladness of heart ; " and though there is a good moral in the words 
of Herbert, we must not allow the principle to rob us of our privi- 
lege " to rejoice evermore : " — 

" Take thy meat ; thiiik it dust : then eat a bit, 
And say with all, Earth to earth I commit." 


Whilst yet in innocence, Adam slept; and calm indeed must 
have been the midnight hour of Paradise. The repose of all ani- 
mate creation would be profound ; the beast as still in its slumber 
as the herbage upon which it reclined, or the flower that grew in 
beauty by the side of its lair. But the ancient ascetics regarded 
sleep as a part of animality they were to throw off to as great an 
extent as possible. With some it would be difiicult to accomplish 
this design, as those persons who have few cares to perplex their 
minds are possessed of powers of sleep to which we whose lot has 
been cast in this restless generation must ever be utter strangers. 
The better informed among them would perhaps sometimes re- 
member that Adam was neither deprived of wedlock, nor food, nor 
speech, nor sleep ; and as they in their solitude were debarred from 
the former of these privileges, they would be tempted the more to 
indulge in the fourth, and to say to themselves, " a little more sleep 
and a little more slumber," when. the rule of their order or their 
personal vow would call upon them with its stern voice to arouse 
themselves and pray ; yet it is a hard task to resist sleep in some 
frames of the body, and the morning twilight would often see them 
nodding their heads like the bulrush when bowed down by the 
wind, at a time when they ought to have been erect as the trunk of 
the tree, blasted by the lightning and now decayed, into which they 
had crept at sunset. 

In eastern climes the nights are so beautiful, and the bare ground 
so comfortable a place of rest, that in the Indian systems of asceti- 
cism we meet with little account of the modes of penance that are 
connected with sleep. It is an ordinance of the Dina Chariyawa 
that the novice is to arise before daylight. There are sixty hours 

X. SLEEP. 107 

in the day, according to the mode of reckoning in India, thirty of 
which belong to the night, which is divided into three watches 
of ten hours each. It is said that Gotama Budha slept during one- 
third of the third watch, or three hours and one-third. In the first 
watch he preached or engaged in religious conversation ; in the 
second watch he answered questions put to him by the dewas ; and 
in the first division of the third watch he slept, in the second exer- 
cised meditation, and in the third looked abroad in the world with 
his divine eyes to see what being or beings it would be proper to 
catch in the net of truth during the day.* 

The last of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Nesajjikanga, which 
is the same as nisajja, ni being a particle of emphasis, and sajjika 
the act of sitting. He who keeps this ordinance may not lie down 
to sleep, and during the whole of one watch of the night he must 
walk about. He may not recline at full length, but may walk, or 
stand, or sit. The priest who keeps the superior ordinance may 
not lean on any place, or make his robe into a seat, or take hold of 
a piece of cloth fastened to a tree. He who keeps the middle ordi- 
nance is allowed to make use of any of these assistances. He who 
keeps the inferior ordinance may make seats (in particular Avays 
that are mentioned). None of the three are permitted to lie down. 

The last of the Twelve Sacred Ordinances of the Chinese is called 
nai'chadika. It prohibits the mendicant from lying down. A seated 
position is that which comports best with his design. His diges- 
tion and respiration are easily carried on, and he can bend his mind 
to that which is wise. Indolence leaves itself open to be attacked 
by vice, that seizes its advantage. The mendicant ought therefore 
to take his repose sitting, and his body ought not to touch the 
earth. f 

This mode of penance has probably been carried to a greater 
extent by the Brahmans than by any other order of ascetics. And 
in their case it is not an incredible tale upon which we have to de- 
pend ; they are presented before our eyes in vast numbers, with 
bodies and members so dry and withered, that they cannot have 
been brought to such a state without the practice of the most pain- 
ful austerities. But it is the recluse alone who is called upon to 
endure these hardships. According to the sage Aurva, the house- 
holder, " after eating his evening meal, and, having washed his feet, 
is to go to rest. His bed is to be entire, and made of wood ; it is 

* Amiiwatura. t Remusat's Relation. 


not to be scanty, nor cracked, nor vineven, nor dirty, nor infested 
by insects, nor without a bedding ; and he is to sleep with his 
head either to the east or to the south ; any other position is un- 
healthy." '" 

There was an order of monks called aKoijiriToi, insomnes, the 
sleepless ; and by other monks the same austerities were observed. 
One was called Rectus, from standing erect until his legs refused 
to hold him up any longer. Chrysostom persisted in remaining in 
a standing posture so long, that wiih this and other exercises he 
ruined his health. Anthony was accustomed to remain whole 
nights without sleep. Paul, the hermit, never lay down to sleep, 
but only leaned his head against a stone or tree. John, of Old 
Castile, only slept two or three hours in the night. Peter of 
Alcantara, knelt a great part of the night, sometimes leaning on 
his heels for a little rest ; but he slept sitting, leaning his head 
against a wall. Pallodius neither stretched out his legs nor lay 
down to sleep ; the night through he sat erect at his work of plat- 
ting ropes, and sleejiing only in a doze at his meals ; an angel might 
be persuaded to sleep, but not he. Macarius continued abroad 
during twenty days and twenty night.s, in order to conquer his pro- 
pensity to sleep, vmtil he was in danger of going mad ; he remained 
erect during the forty days of Lent, neither bending the knee, nor 
sitting, nor lying down. The Ethiopian Moses persisted six years 
in standing erect the night through, never closing his eyes. Daniel, 
the Stylite, supported himself against the balustrade of his pillar, 
until, by continually standing, his legs and feet became swollen 
and full of ulcers. On one occasion, in the winter, he was found 
so stiff with cold, that his disciples had to soak some sponges in 
warm water, and rub him therewith, before he could be revived. 
Nor has our own country been without saints of the same order. 
Cuthbert was accustomed to spend whole nights in prayer ; and to 
resist sleep he walked about the island in which he lived— Landis- 
farne. One night he was seen to go down to the sea-shore, where 
he went into the water until it reached his arm-pits, and continued 
there until the break of clay, singing the praises of God. It is not 
said whether his position was affected by the tide. 

By the rule of Basil, sleep was not to be continued after mid- 
night, the rest of the night being devoted to prayer. Alexander, 
in 402, instituted the order of Akoemites, which differed from that 

* Wilson's Vishnu riuana, 309. 


of Basil only in this rule, that each monastery was divided into 
diftbrent choirs, which, succeeding each other, continued the offices 
of the church, day and night without interruption. Among the 
Cistercians, the monks, who slept in their habits upon straw, rose 
at midnight, and spent the rest of the night in singing the offices."* 


The prophet of Israel made use of a very significant figure to 
describe the calamities that were about to overtake his countrymen 
for their shis, when he said that, instead of " well-set hair" there 
should be baldness. The right arrangement of the hair tells of 
comfort and ease, and betokens a sense of the proprieties of social 
existence ; whilst, if left in disorder, it tells with a voice equally 
truthful of carelessness or calamity. It is a great addition to the 
grace or dignity of the human form ; and whether we see it in 
flowing ringlets upon the necks of children, or in the modest tresses 
of the matron as she walks in comeliness, or in the scanty locks 
upon the head of the aged, white as the falling snow, the appear- 
ance that it presents is in imison with the circumstances of the in- 
dividual, and therefore beautiful. We cannot wonder, then, that 
the hair has been an especial object of dislike to the gloomy foun- 
ders of all monastic institutions ; and that they have been un- 
sparing in their demand that it should either be entirely removed, 
or deprived of all its grace. 

But in some instances there have been other motives for its re- 
moval. It has been supposed that it would promote the cleanliness 
of the person, or that, as it is a mere earthly excrescence, the body 
is more pure, and partakes more of divinity, when free from its 
presence. It is said that the Hebrew priests shaved off all their 
hair when inaugurated, and that when on duty they cut it every 
fortnight. They were not allowed, in cases of mourning, to make 
baldness upon their head, nor to shave off the corner of the beard — 
Lev. xxi. 5. The passage, " Uncover noi your heads," Lev. x. 6, 
is by many of the Jews translated, " Let not the hair of your head 
grow," as was sometimes the custom of mourners. They supposed 
that this law, except in the case of the high priest, was only binding 

* Hospinian, Giesler, and Alban Butler, passim. 


during the period of their ministration. It is remarkable that, 
in the only rite approaching to asceticism in use among the 
Israelites, the Nazarite was required to allow his hair to grow long. 
The Egyptian priests every third day shaved every part of their 
bodies, to prevent vermin or any other species of impurity from 
adhering to their persons when engaged in their sacred duties. 
Hence Plutarch, in his exhortation to the priestess of Isis, says, 
" As the long robe and the mantle do not make a philosopher, 
neither does the linen garb and shaven head constitute a priest of 
Isis." The learned Origen was once shaved by his persecutors, 
when in Alexandria, and taken to the temple of Serapis, that he 
might be induced to join in an act of idolatry as a priest. 

Among other nations the hair has been cut off for different rea- 
sons :— as a sacrifice; at marriage; after escape from imminent 
danger ; after a campaign ; on the day of consecration ; and as a 
token of mourning. Sappho (epigram ii.) says of Timas, 

" Her loved companions pay the rites of woe, 
All, all, alas ! tlie living can bestow ; 
From their fair heads the graceful locks they shear, 
Place on her tomb, and di-op the tender tear." 

Faiokes's Sappho. 

Tlie hair of Achilles w^as dedicated to the river-god, Sperclieius. 
In honour of the Hyperborean virgins (Herod, iii. 34) who died at 
Delos, the Delian youths of both sexes celebrated certain rites, in 
which they cut off their hair. This was done by virgins previous 
to their marriage, who wound their hair round a spindle, and by the 
young men, who wound it round a certain herb, and placed it upon 
the strangers' tomb. The Spartan ephors, on entering upon office, 
issued a kind of edict, in which it was ordered " to shave the beard, 
f.iv(TTa^, and obey the laws," the former being a metaphorical ex^ 
pression for subjection and obedience. At Sparta the beard was 
considered as a mark of freedom, as well as at Byzantium and 
Rhodes, where shaving was prohibited by ancient laws.*' The 
slaves were shaved as a mark of servitude. The hair of the vestal 
virgins was cut off, probably at the time of their consecration. 

Among the Scandinavians it was a mark of infamy to cut off the 
hair. The Dutch, when in possession of Ceylon, adopted this cus- 
tom as a mode of punishment, which was continued by the English ; 

* C. O. Miiller's History of the Dorians. 


but when it was found that on this account the native soldiers re- 
fused to have their hair cut, it was no longer adopted. 

From some of the above customs originated the tonsure, that 
designated the clerical or monastic state among Christians. In the 
early church, male penitents were required to cut off their hair and 
shave their beards, in token of contrition ; and females had to ap- 
pear with their hair in disorder. But the old ecclesiastical rules 
expressly enjoined the clergy (Constit. Apost. lib. i. c. 3) to wear 
their hair and beards long.* It is said by Alban Butler (Oct. 12) 
that the tonsure was introduced in the fourth or fifth century, after 
the persecutions had ceased. The first locks were sometimes cut 
off by the king or some other great personage. In the eighth cen- 
tury there were three varieties of tonsure : the Greek, in which the 
entire top of the head was shaven ; the Roman, in a circular form, 
in imitation of the crown of thorns ; and that of St. Paul, or the 
oriental, from the forehead to the crown. It is supposed that the 
custom among the British monks was to have the hair cut in the 
fore part of the head, in a semicircle, from ear to ear.f To say 
that a man was shaven, was equivalent to saying that he had be- 
come a priest or monk. When Wilfrid was admitted among the 
clergy, by receiving the tonsure, but not any holy order, Bede says 
simply, " Attonsus est," which Alfred translated, " He was shorn 
to priest." J Hilarion Avas accustomed to cut his hair once yearly, 
a little before Easter. It was the custom in the community of 
Aicard, a French saint, for every monk to shave his crown on the 
Saturday. The founder having once been hindred on the Saturday 
from performing the usual operation, began to shave himself very 
early on the Sunday morning ; but he was touched with remorse, 
and is said to have seen in a vision a devil picking up every hair 
he had cut off at this forbidden hour, to produce against him at the 
judgment seat of God. The aunt of Eustochium, whose history is 
related by Jerome (De Virgin, et ep. 22, 26, 27), having caused 
her hair to be gracefully curled, after the fashion of the times, a 
terrible angel appeared to her the following night, threatening her 
severely for having attempted to instil vanity into one who was 
consecrated as the spouse of Christ. The Capuchins wear their 
beards, not shaved close, but long and not clipped. Francis wore 
a beard, but it was very short, and his followers, who had long 

* Riddle's Ecclesiastical Antiquities. t Bui-ton's Monasticon. 

X Lingard's Anglo-Saxon Church. 


beards, were commanded to shave them.* The Templars, among 
other peculiarities of their institute, were commanded to wear their 
beards long. It is said of Chaucer's Monk, that 

" His hcd was balled, and shone as any glas." 

The Institutes of Manu contain the following regvilations on the 
subject of the hair. " By the tonsure of the child's head, with a 
lock of hair left on it . . . are the seminal and uterine taints of the 
three classes wholly removed. ... By the command of the Veda, 
the ceremony of the tonsure should be legally performed by the 
first three classes in the first or third year after birth.f , . . The 
ceremony of kesanta, or cutting off the hair, is ordained for a 
priest in the sixteenth year after conception ; for a soldier, in the 
twenty-second; for a merchant, two years later than that. . . . Sudras, 
engaged in religious duties, must perform each month the cere- 
mony of shaving their heads. . . . Ignominious tonsure is ordained, 
instead of capital punishment, for an adulterer of the priestly class, 
where the punishment of other classes may extend to loss of life." j 
The god Siva is represented as having matted hair ; and the jatala 
ascetics among the Brahmans, wear their hair clotted together in 
inextricable involutions. 

Among the Budhists, the priest, from the commencement of his 
noviciate, is shaved ; and he is provided with a razor, as one of the 
eight articles he is allowed to possess, in order that his tonsure 
may be regularly performed. The law is, that the hair is not to be 
permitted to grow to a greater length than two inches ; but it is 
the usual custom to shave once every fortnight. The priests shave 
each other, but it is not forbidden to have the operation performed 
by a laic. Among the Brahmans no one is allowed (Manu, Inst, 
iv. 9) to cut his own hair or nails. Until the year 1266, the monks 
of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, were accustomed to shave one 
another in the cloister ; but frequent injuries ensuing through their 
awkwardness in that office, secular persons were hired. In some 
instances the camerarius provided razors and towels for the monks, 
and they were shaved by the infirmarius. In the Sempringham 

* Alban Butler, passim. 

t Times and seasons, and the phases of the moon, are closely observed in 
the Fylde, Lancashu-e, when the first operation of cutting the infant's nails 
and hair is to be performed, which for a whole year are carefully guarded 
from the scissors. 

I Inst. ii. 27, 35, 65 ; v. 140 ; viii. 379. 


rule the canons were shaved seventeen times per annum ; but one 
of the Inquirencla of Henry's visitors was, "Whether ye bee 
wyckely shaven?" Shaving the beard began about the year 1200, 
lest the eucharist should be defiled by it.* 

The priests of Budha never put a covering upon tlic head in 
Ceylon, though this custom appears not to be followed in other 
countries where the same religion is professed. They walk out 
uncovered, with the bald crown exposed to the fiercest beam of a 
tropical sun, but without appearing to feel any ill effect in conse- 
quence. It is said by Herodotus (iii. 12), that after a battle be- 
tween the Persians and Egyptians, it was found that the skulls of 
the Egyptians were so hard, that a stone would scarcely break 
them ; whilst those of the Persians were so soft, that they might 
be broken or pierced through with the greatest ease. The former 
"were accustomed from their infancy to have their heads shaved, 
and go uncovered ; whilst the latter always wore some form of 
head-dress. Hence it would appear that the skull, from exposure, 
becomes crass and callous. 

In the metaphysical drama, called Prabodha-chandra-ndaya, a 
Budhist is addressed thus : — " Aha ! sinner that thou art, vilest of 
heretics, with thy shaven crown, drest like the lowest outcastes — 
uncombed one — away with thee !" f 

There are fifteen evils connected witli the growth of the hair, 
such as that it must be ornamented, anointed, washed, perfumed, 
purified, unloosed, tied, combed, curled, unknotted, and freed from 
vermin ; and when it begins to fall off, there is regret. But the 
freedom from care and trouble is not the only advantage to be 
gained by cutting off the hair. J When the hair of the priest, or 
his nails, are suft'ered to grow long, his robe is dirty and full of 
holes, the perspiration is allowed to remain upon his body, and his 
various requisites are covered with filth, his mind will partake of 
the same uncleanness. When the lamp, or the oil, or the wick, are 
not free from dirt, the light that is given is not clear ; in like man- 
ner, when the mind is unclean, the truths necessary to be known 
cannot be discovered, and the rites of asceticism cannot be pro- 
perly exercised. But w^hen the body is clean, the mind partakes 
of the same purity ; and as the lamp, oil, and wick, when free from 
dirt, give a clear light, so the mind that is pure can discern the 
truths, and exercise the rites in a projier manner. § 

* Foshroke's British Moiiachism. t Wilson's Hindu Theatre. 

I Milinda I'rasna. vj Wisudlii Margga Sanno. 



The use of dress is one of the consequences of sin ; and though 
at its first adoption it was intended only as " the veil of shame," it 
has since been made the instrument of much evil, by ministering 
to pride and passion. Hence the wish of nearly all ascetics to 
prevent this evil, either by returning to the simplicity of man in 
innocence, or by making the garment of scanty dimensions, or by 
adopting a dress of mean appearance, coarse, rough and ragged. 
/ The precepts given in the Patimokkhan relative to the dress of 
the priest of Budha are numerous. He is permitted to have three 
I robes,*' called respectively sanghatiya, uttarasanggaya, and antara- 
' wasakaya, and is not allowed to retain an extra robe more than ten 
days ; the whole three are always to be in his possession, unless 
danger be apprehended, in which case he may leave one robe in the 
village, but not more than six days, unless specially permitted. 
When cloth is received for a new robe it must be made up without 
delay ; and when it is insufficient for the making of a robe, it may 
not be kept longer than a month, even when waiting for so much as 
is required to complete it ; unless when the robe has been stolen 
or accidentally destroyed, another robe is not to be solicited from 
any one ; when given under these circumstances, he is only to re- 
ceive two ; no priest shall persuade any one to collect money to 
purchase for him a robe ; no robe that the giver has jjreviously 
been requested to present may be received : the priest may not 
take money from the messenger of a king or other great person for 
the purchase of a robe, but the money may be given to some one 
else ; and when the priest wants a robe he may go thrice to that 
person, and remind him that a robe is required, and if not then 
given, he may thrice try to obtain it by standing in silence ; but if 
still refused, he may not make any further effort to procure it, 
except that he may inform the person who sent the money of the 
circumstance. A priest may not seek the extra robe allowed during 
the rainy months before the last month of the hot season, nor have 
it made up before the last half-month. When a priest has given a 
robe to another, he may not afterwards try to regain it, or have it 

* The word robe may appear to be a misnomer as apjDlied to the dress of 
a Buclhist mendicant ; but it had not always the dignity that is now attached 
to it, as our forefathers called the dress of a slave, roba garcionis. 


taken away ; he may not ask for cotton thread, and then give it to 
a weaver to be made into cloth for a robe ; when he knows that the 
weaver is making cloth for a robe, he may not go to him and give 
instructions as to the manner in which he is to make it, promising 
him a present. The time for making (he offering of a robe being 
at the end of the rainy season, when wass has been performed, the 
priest may not receive a robe more than ten days prior to that 
period. When the priest obtains a new robe it must be disfigured, 
by marks of mud or otherwise, before he puts it on ; he may not 
give his robe to another, without the regular form of investiture. 
When a robe has been given in the regular form, he is not to make 
a complaint that it has been given with partiality. No cloth shall 
be used as a covering for a sore that is more than two spans in 
breadth and four in length. The priest may not wear in the rainy 
season a robe larger than six spans in length and two and a half in 
breadth ; and he is never to wear a robe as large or larger than the 
robe of Budha, v/hich was nine spans long and six broad (in each 
case the span of Budha being intended). The under robe is to be 
so worn that no part of the body from the navel to the knee be ex- 
posed, and with the upper robe the body is to be covered from the 
shoulders to the heels. 

When the priest has forfeited a robe, on account of having kept 
it beyond the prescribed period, he is to deliver it up to a chapter. 
Approaching the assembly, and baring one of his shoulders, he 
worships the feet of the senior priests ; then, kneeling down or 
sitting on his heels, he raises his clasped hands to his forehead, 
and says that the robe has been forfeited, being an extra one, and 
kept longer than ten days. The robe is delivered to the chapter, 
and another priest is appointed to receive it."^-' 

In the missive sent by the sangha raja of Burma to the priests of 
Ceylon, that hierarch dwells at length upon the necessity of great 
attention being paid "to the proper adjustment of the robes," and 
quotes the following rules from the Sekhiyawa : — " The precept 
ought to be observed that I should wear the tipper robe so as to 
envelope the body. . . . The precept ought to be observed that I 
should enter the village or house, well covered wdth my robes." 
From the work called Khandakawatta, which is said to contain 
precepts taken from the Maha Waga and Chula Waga the follow- 
ing rule is taken : — " When the time is announced for the perform- 

* Gogerly's Translation of the Patimokkhan. 

I 2 


ance of any sacred duty, every priest should enter the village in a 
quiet orderly manner, putting on the robe so as to conceal the 
three mandala, or the parts of the body from the navel to the ankles, 
and envelope the body, tying the waist-band, coveiing the body 
with the upper robe doubled, and tying the knot, taking in the hand 
the alms-bowl, after having properly washed it." And again, the 
raja proceeds, " Some persons erroneously think, that to tie a band 
or sash round the upper robe, to prevent it from flying off, is not 
contrary to the Winaya ; but to show that this is a mistake, I quote 
the following passage from the Chula Waga : — "Priests, do not wear 
a girdle, not even a string, round the small of the back : the priest 
who wears it is guilty of an offence requiring confession and abso- 

The physician Jiwaka having given two magnificent robes to 
Gotama Budha ; the sage reflected that if the priests were allowed 
to receive robes of this description, they would be in danger from 
thieves ; and he therefore intimated this danger to his attendant, 
Ananda, who cut them into thirty pieces, and then sewed them to- 
gether in five divisions, so that the robe resembled the patches in a 
rice-field divided by embankments. On seeing this contrivance, 
Budha made a law that his priests should only have three robes at 
one time, and that they should always be composed of thirty pieces 
of cloth.*" 

When Gotama Bodhisat was the ascetic Sumedha, in the time of 
Dipankara Budha, he reflected that there are nine objections to the 
garment of the laic. 1. It is too magnificent. 2. It must be re- 
ceived from some one, as it does not appear by itself, and cannot 
be found in the forest. 3. It soon becomes soiled. 4. It is soon 
worn away, or is otherwise destroyed. 5. It cannot be procured at 
any moment, just when it is required. 6. It is a thing of value. 
7. It may be stolen. 8. It enervates the body of the wearer. 9. 
It gives rise to evil desire. He also reflected that there are twelve 
advantages from wearing the garment of the ascetic (vvak-chiwara, 
a covering made of bark, or of some other vegetable substance). 
1. It is plain. 2. There is no necessity to apply to any one, in 
order to procure it. 3. It can be made by the ascetic's own hand. 
4. It does not soon become soiled. 5. Thieves will not notice it. 
6. It can easily be procured in any place. 7. It becomes the 
wearer. 8. It does not give rise to evil desire. 9. It does not 

* Puj&.waliya. 


cause covetousness. 10. It is readily put on. 11. It requires no 
trouble to procure it. 12. When evil desire has been destroyed, it 
does not cause its reproduction.* 

The robe is to be put on by the priest as if it were a bandage to 

cover a sore, or a cloth to cover a skeleton ; and he must carry the 

alms-bowl as if it were a vessel of medicine. There are some 

priests who put on the robe as young men, or even as lewd women, 

put on their garments, to attract attention ; but this is contrary to 

the precepts. It may be put on to keep off the snow, as by extreme 

cold disease is produced, and the mind is prevented from exer- 

I'bising continued thought. Its principal advantage, however, is to 

i bover the shame of the priest ; other benefits are occasional, but 

^ this is without intermission. 

When invited to receive the offering of a robe, the priest may not 
say that he does not desire it, that a few rags from the grave-yard 
will be sufficient for him, in order that he may receive the greater 
respect. By this means the people might be led to think that they 
will gain merit by giving to so holy a man, and thus be induced to 
bring him many offerings ; and the priest who at first appeared so 
disinterested, will be led to ask for more and more, thus bringing 
discredit upon the truth. f 

The king of Kosala one day presented to each of his 500 wives 
a splendid robe ; but they made an offering of them to Ananda, 
when he came to the palace to say bana. The next day, as the 
king saw them in their former garments, he enquired what they had 
done with the robes ; when they said that they had jaresented them 
to Ananda. The king, in anger, asked if the priest wanted to sell 
them, and went immediately to the wihara to enquire into the 
matter ; but he spoke only to Ananda, and not to Budha, asking if 
Budha had not said that no priest was to have more than three 
robes. Ananda replied, " Yes, as his ow^n property ; but he is to 
receive w'hatever is presented, in order that the giver may thereby 
obtain merit. On a certain occasion the priest Wanawasatissa re- 
ceived a thousand bowls of rice-milk, wdiich he gave to as many 
priests ; and at another time he received a thousand mantles, which 
he disposed of in a similar manner. In the same way I received 
the 500 Kasi robes from the queens, and gave them to as many 
I)riests whose robes were old." The king enquired what the priests 
did with their old robes, and Ananda said, that " after stitching 

* Pi'ijawaliya. f Wisudhi Margga Sanne. 


them they took them for loose wrappers." The king : " What be- 
comes of the former wrappers ?" Ananda : " They cut away the 
old pieces, and taking the good pieces that are left, they make 
them into inner robes." The king : " What becomes of the inner 
robes that have been cast off?" Ananda: "They spread them 
upon the ground, that they may sleep upon them at night." The 
king : " What becomes of the cloths upon which they slept pre- 
viously ?" Ananda : " The priests spread them in the places where 
they dwell, to walk upon." The king : " What is done with the 
cloths upon which they formerly walked ?" Ananda : " They 
make them into the rugs upon which they wipe their feet." The 
king : " What becomes of the former rugs ?" Ananda : " They use 
them in preparing the clay of which their dwellings are built." 
The king's anger was appeased by these answers ; and to show his 
satisfaction he presented to Ananda 500 other robes of similar 
value, greatly praising the institutions of Budha.*'' 

The first of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Pansukulikanga. 
The word pansu means earth, and may here be used in reference 
to the cloth about which the ordinance is instituted, which must be 
taken from the earth or ground ; or it may be used as meaning 
anything mean or low. The word kula means a heap, collection, 
or bank ; it is also used for disgrace. The garment of the priest is 
called pansukula ; the priest observing this ordinance is called 
pansukulika, and the observance itself pansukulikanga. The priest 
who keeps this ordinance must resolve, " I will not receive the 
garment given by a householder ; I will receive it only in ac- 
cordance with the precept." This precept forbids the receiving 
of any cloth for the making of a garment that has not been found 
under one or other of the following circumstances : — The cloth that 
has been thrown into a burial-ground, or thrown away in the bazaar, 
or thrown out of a window with the intention of acquiring merit ; 
the cloth used for the purification of a woman in childbirth ; the 
cloth that a demon priest has tied round his head on the perform- 
ance of some ceremony, and thrown away when going to bathe ; the 
cloth thrown away by a person after bathing ; the cloth thrown 
away by persons who have carried a corpse to the place of sepul- 
ture ; the cloth eaten by cattle, or white ants, or rats ; the cloth 
that has been partially burnt, and thrown away in consequence ; 
the cloth that is torn at the end ; the piece of cloth that is only a 

* Pujawaliya. 


shred or remnant ; the cloth that has been put up like a flag by 
persons who have sailed away in a vessel, which may be taken after 
they are out of sight ; the flag tied in a battle-field after the fight is 
done ; the cloth put on an ant-hill with an offering to a demon ; the 
cloth that has belonged to a priest, or that has been used at the 
anointing of a king, or that has belonged to a priest who is a rishi ; 
the cloth left in a road by mistake, after it has been seen that no 
one claims it ; the cloth carried away by the wind ; the cloth given 
by the dewas, like the one given to Anurudha ; and the cloth cast 
on shore by the waves. Pieces of cloth that are found in any of 
these twenty-three ways may be taken by the priest for the making 
of his garment, and no other. There are three ways in which this 
ordinance, as well as the other dhutangas, may be kept ; the supe- 
rior, the middle, and the inferior. The superior allows the cloth to 
be taken only from the place of sepulture. The middle ordinance 
allows the priest to take the garment that has been put for him by 
another priest, in any place. The inferior ordinance allows him to 
take a garment that has been put at his feet by another priest. 
The priest who receives a robe from a householder breaks this or- 
dinance ; but he may receive it with the intention of giving it to 
another priest, without any fault. Even the things allowed are not 
in all cases to be taken. When the mother of the noble Tissa was 
confined, the cloth used at her purification, worth a hundred pieces 
of gold, was thrown into the street of Anuradhapura, called Jala-w^eli, 
under the supposition that it would be taken by some priest ob- 
serving this ordinance ; but though it was seen by the priests, they 
did not take it, on account of its value. 

As Gotama Budha, when he proclaimed that Kasyapa was to be 
his successor, said, " Kasyapa, thou shalt wear my pansukula robe," 
we may learn that the garment of the great sage was of this mean 
description. We may also infer from this expression that the re- 
ception of the habit of any public teacher was intended to convey 
the idea that the individual who received it had succeeded to the 
office of the person by whom it was previously worn. It may have 
been on this account that Elisha " took up the mantle of Elijah, 
that fell from him," at his glorious removal to the company of the 
ever happy. — 2 Kings ii. 13. 

The seventh of the Twelve Sacred Observances of the Chinese is 
said to teach that the mendicant ought not to wish for any kind of 
ornament ; he is not to look for sumptuous habits, but to take those 


which are torn and tattered, and have been rejected by others. 
These he washes and cleans, and makes them into patched gar- 
ments, solely to protect him from the cold and cover his nakedness. 
New garments and beautiful habits give rise to the desire of re- 
newed existence, and agitate the mind; they also attract thieves.* 

The second of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Techiwarakanga, 
from te, three, and chiwara, a robe. The three robes are the one 
underneath, the one outside, and the sangala that covers all (an- 
swering to the peribolaem, which the Gangram canons observe was 
used by the ascetics). The priest who observes this ordinance can- 
not possess more than three robes at one time ; if he possesses a 
fourth, the ordinance is broken. When cloth for the robes is re- 
ceived it may be put by for future use, if there be no tailor, or no 
thread, or no needle, until they can be met with : but it must be 
made up at the first opportunity that presents itself. If an old robe 
be cast away merely that a new one may be received, though the 
ordinance is not broken thereby, its spirit is disregarded. The 
priest who keeps the superior ordinance may put on one robe whilst 
the two others are dyed, if he lives near a village ; but if he lives in 
the forest, he must dye all the three at the same time, and remain 
in the interval without clothing ; yet, should any one approach, he 
must take one of the robes from the dye and put it on. The middle 
ordinance allows a robe to be put on during the process of dying, 
but the robe for this purpose must be one that was previously in the 
dye, and no other can be taken. The inferior ordinance allows the 
robe of another priest, or any common cloth, to be put on, whilst 
his own are in the dye ; but it may not be retained when the pro- 
cess is done : he may nevertheless possess a piece of cloth like a 
sheet without breaking the precept. In addition to the three robes, 
the priest may not possess any other garment ; but he may have a 
dat-kada, for the purpose of cleaning the teeth, if it be not more 
than a span broad and three cubits long. 

The eighth of the Twelve Sacred Observances of the Chinese is 
called traitchivarika, which signifies that the mendicant is to con- 
tent himself with the kia cha of nine, seven, or five pieces. He 
has few desires, and is easily satisfied. He wishes neither for too 
much nor too little clothing. He is equally distant from those who 
are habited in white, and have a number of habits, and the heretics 
who are entirely naked; both the one and the other excess is 

* Remusat's Relation des Royaumes Bouddhiques. 

XII. THE HABir. 121 

avoided : the three habits are a just medium. As for the rest, the 
word kia cha signifies, of different colours, on account of the pieces 
that form the habit of the first, second, and third order. 

The three robes are said by Klaproth to be called in Chinese — 1 . 
Seng kia li (sanghat'i), meaning " reuni" or " double." 2. Yu to 
lo scng (oiittarasanghat'i) meaning " habit de dessus." 3. Aii tho 
hoei (antaravasaka) meaning " habit de dessous." The first is used 
when visiting the palaces of kings and other public places ; the 
second, when conducting worship or preaching ; and the third, when 
in the interior of the dwelling. •>* 

In Burma the priests observe only one part of the law. They 
tear the cloth into a great number of pieces, but take care that it 
shall be of the finest quality. f 

The month succeeding the three months of the rainy season, in 
( which wass is performed, is called in Ceylon chiwara-masa, or the 
I ' robe-month. At this time the people purchase one or more pieces 
of cloth, according to their circumstances, which they present to the 
priests. The cloth for this purpose is called katina. It cannot be 
received except by a chapter, which must be constituted of at least 
five priests. When the cloth is off'ered, the priests hold a conver- 
sation among each other, and enquire, " Which of us stands in need 
of a robe ?" The priest who is most in need of a garment ought 
now to rriake known his want ; but this rule is not attended to, as 
the priest who has read the sacred books, or expounded them, 
during the performance of wass, whether the most destitute or not, 
usually receives the robe. The priest respectfully asks the rest of 
the chapter to partake of the merits produced by the oflTering. The 
assembled priests, assisted by the lay devotees, make the cloth into 
a robe, and dye it yellow ; the whole of which process must be 
concluded in sixty hours, or a natural day. 

On some occasions the robe is manufactured throughout, from 
the raw material, in the same space of time. The hall where the 
bana is read is seen filled with women, sitting upon the ground ; 
some bring in the cotton from the tree, or free it from the pod, 
whilst others prepare it for the spinners, who make it into yarn ; it 
is then handed over to the weavers, who sit outside with their 
simple looms, and make it into cloth. In the evening of the same 
day the cloth is received by the priests, who stitch it into a robe, 

* Rcnuisat's llelatiou dos lloyaumcs Bouddhiques, xiii. 10. 
t Sangcriiiauo's liurnicso Empire, 89. 


and dye it the prescribed colour. This custom is more practised in 
the maritime provinces than in the interior of the island. It is not 
an ordinance of Budha. The Egyptian priests had a garment woven 
in one day when they observed the festival in memory of the return 
of Rampsinitus from the infernal regions. — Herod ii. 123. The 
magic standard of the ancient Danes was also woven and embroi- 
dered by royal hands in one noon-tide. 

The regulations made by Gotama upon the subject of dress, were 
probably in part intended to set aside the custom that appears to 
have prevailed throughout India in the age in which he lived, for 
the ascetics to be entirely destitute of clothing. When Alexander 
arrived at Taxila, he met with the gymnosophists, and was surprised 
at their extraordinary patience in the endurance of pain. It is re- 
lated by Plutarch that when Onesicritus was sent to desire some 
of them to come and see the monarch, Calamus commanded him to 
strip, and hear what he said naked, otherwise he would not speak 
to him, though he were even a divine being. Some of the ancient 
ascetics of the west were contented with a costume equally primi- 
tive. When Zosimus had been in the Arabian desert about twenty 
days, he one day saw a strange figure, like a human being, with 
short white hair, but extremely sunburnt. Thinking it was some 
holy anchoret, he ran after the figure, when a voice said to him, 
" Abbot Zosimus, I am a woman ; throw me your mantle." After 
covering herself, the woman, who proved to be Mary, of Egypt, 
said that she had lived in the desert forty-seven years, and in that 
period had not seen a single human being. There were other 
saints who had no other covering but their own hair ; as was said 
of one of these worthies, " nuditatem suam divino munere ves- 

It is expressly stated by Gotama that one purpose of the robe is 
to preserve the priest's body from the attacks of musquitoes. 
Hence, in Budhistical works we meet with no such narratives as 
that which is related of Macarius. This great anchoret having one 
day killed a gnat that had bitten him in his cell, as a penance he 
hastened to the marshes, that abounded with fiies that could pene- 
trate the thick skin of the wild boar, and there remained six months, 
until his body was so much disfigured with sores and swellings 
that he could only be recognised by his voice. Bernard acted a 
wiser part : when his monastery was troubled by swarms of flies, he 
excommunicated them, and they all died. When Gotama retired to 



the shade of the midella tree, at the time he received the supreme 
Budhaship, there was a storm of wind and rain ; but a snake-god, 
Muchalinda, came and entwined himself seven times round the body 
of the sage, extending his large hood over his head, and saying, 
" Let not Bagawa'be affected by cold, or heat, or flies, or gnats, or 
wind, or sunbeams, or insects." Gotama accepted his protection, 
until the storm had passed away. In the native paintings that re- 
present the sage in this position, his general appearance greatly 
resembles that of a monk ensconced in his hood. 

It was customary, at an early period, for those Christians who 
assumed an ascetic course of life, to put on the pallium of the an- 
cient philosophers. The monks of Egypt, according to Cassian, 
wore a mean habit, merely enough to cover their nakedness, with 
short sleeves. Libanius (Haeres. xlvi. c. 1) calls them " black- 
coat monks." The dress of Anthony was hair-cloth within and 
sheepskin without, which he never changed ; but no one saw him 
naked until his death. He bequeathed one sheepskin to Athana- 
sius, with an old blanket ; another to Serapion ; and his hair- cloth 
to his attendant. Hilarion never changed his sackcloth until it was 
worn out, and never washed it, saying that it is idle to look for 
neatness in a hair-shirt. The covering of Paul, the hermit, was 
made of the leaves of the palm-tree. John, of Alexandria, had 
a valuable blanket sent to him, but he used it only for one night, 
and the next day sold it and gave the price to the poor. When 
others were given to him, he acted in the same manner. Basil had 
only one tunic and one coat. Bruno had only one coarse habit. 
When Aphraates was once offered a garment, he said that he had 
only one, which he had worn sixteen years, and he Avas not willing 
to have two at the same time, or to exchange an old and faithful 
servant for a new one. The dress of Germanus was the same in 
winter as summer, and was never changed until it was worn to 
pieces. Thomas, when made archbishop of Valentia, kept for 
some years the habit he had worn in the monastery, which he con- 
tinued to mend with his own hand. On the day when Francis re- 
nounced the world, he stripped himself of his clothes, in the fer- 
vour of his zeal ; and when the cloak of a country labourer working 
for the bishop of Assize was brought, he cheerfully put it on, making 
i;pon it a cross with chalk or mortar. Afterwards he contented him- 
self with one poor coat, which he girt about with a cord ; and this 
habit, which was the dress of the poor shepherds and peasants, he 


gave to his followers, with a short cloak over the shoulders, and a 
hood to cover the head. When his rough garment became too soft, 
he sewed it with packthread. When he found that his vicar- 
o-eneral had put on a habit of finer material than the other friars, 
and adopted other novelties, he deposed him from office. Peter, of 
Alcantara, never wore any other garment but a habit of thick coarse 
sackcloth, with a short cloak. When the weather was very cold 
he left the door and window of his cell open, and took off his man- 
tle, that when he again put it on and closed his door, his body 
might be refreshed with the warmth. The habit of Colette was of 
the coarsest description and made of more than a hundred patches 
sewed together. Turgesius, abbot of Kirkstall, in Yorkshire, was 
always clad in hair-cloth, frequently repeating to himself, " They 
who are clad in soft raiment are in kings' houses." 

The various orders of monks were known by their dress, as each 
had some difference either in the shape or colour of the garment. 
Their most common appellation was frequently from the colour of 
their dress, as the Black and White Friars, and the Pied Friars, or 
Fratres de Pica, who were so called from their outer garment, which 
was black and white, like a magpie. The dresses of the monks 
were sometimes costly. In 1478, the sum of £5 was paid for the 
habit of the abbot of Whalley, and £39 for the habits of the monks, 
who were about twenty in number. Master William de Stowe, 
sacrist of Evesham, acquired four copes, one of cloth of gold, very 
fine, another of red velvet with pearls, a third of red satin of the 
best kind, and a fourth also of red satin with flowers of gold ; he 
also procured three albs, one of which had a representation of the 
Deity in gold work, with the heads of the apostles also in gold. 

The Egyptian priests, as well as the Pythagoreans and Essenes, 
wore white garments ; and were confined to one particular mode of 
dress. The garb of the earlier Christian ascetics was also white. 
The monks with whom Chrysostom associated had garments made 
of the rough hair of goats or camels, or of old skins. The followers 
of Gregory Nazianzen had only one cloak, made of sackcloth. The 
monks of Pachomius wore on their shoulders a white goatskin, 
called a melotes ; their tunic was of white linen, without sleeves, 
with a cowl of the same material. According to the rule of Bene- 
dict, the abbot was to appoint the dress of the fraternity, and each 
brother was to have two tunics, cowls, and scapularies, the best 
being worn when they went abroad. When travelling they wore 

XI r. THE HABIT. 125 

breeclies, but at other times their gown was to suffice. Their 
founder was indifferent to the colour, form, or quality of their dress, 
but recommended that it should be adapted to the climate, and 
similar to that of the labouring poor ; when reqviisite it was to be 
mended with sacks and scraps. The Cistercensians exchanged the 
black habit of the Benedictines for a white one. The Janitareans 
wore a white habit, with a red and blue cross upon the breast. 
Peter, the venerable, says of the Carthusians, that their dress was 
meaner and poorer than that of other monks, and so short, scanty, 
and rough, that the very sight was frightful. The Dominicans wear 
a white robe with a white hood, over which, when they go out, they 
put a black cloak with a black hood. Ignatius appointed no other 
habit than the one used by the clergy in his time, that his disciples 
might be able the more readily to converse with persons of all 

Notwithstanding the example set by the more rigid of these asce- 
tics, and the stringency of the monastic rules, there were many of 
the order who disregarded the institute, and even reverted to dis- 
honourable means to procure costly habits. Piers Ploughman 
says, — 

" I. found there freres, 

All the four orders, 
Preachiiig the people, 

For profit of hemselve. 
Glosed the gospel, 

As hem good liked ; 
For covetise of copes 

Construed it as they would. 
Many of these master fi-ercs 

Now clothen hem at likiiig ; 
For hir money and her merchandize 

Marchen togeders." 

The love of dress was an ancient evil among our countrymen, and 
even the inmates of our monastic establishments partook of the 
same principle. At the beginning of the ninth century, Alcuin, in 
his letters to the rulers of the Anglo-Saxon monasteries, implored 
them " to prefer the virtues of their profession to the display of the 
hoods of silk, of bands round the waist, of rings on the finger, and 

* Ilospin. De Monachis. Alban Butler, passim. Giesler's Text-Book. 
Glimpses of the Dark Ages. AMiitakcr's History of Whalley. Tiudal's 
History of Evesham. 


of fillets round the feet."* As might be expected the principal 
difficulty was presented among the women. When Ethelwold, 
bishop of Winchester, saw at court the abbess Edith, daughter of 
king Edgar, in a splendid dress, he was so shocked that he said to 
her, " Daughter, the spouse whom you have chosen delights not in 
external pomp. It is the heart which he demands." " True, 
father," replied the abbess, " and my heart I have given to him. 
While he possesses it, he will not be off'ended with external pomp.''f 
To those who have been accustomed to regard the earlier ages of 
the church as the most pure, and its recluses as the holiest of man- 
kind, appeals like the following, from the pen of the martyr bishop 
of Carthage, must come with startling effect. " What do orna- 
ments mean, what means decking of the hair, except to one who 
either has, or who is seeking, a husband ? . . . . Peter dehorts 
married women from an excessive ornamenting of their persons, 
who might plead, in excuse of their fault, the will and taste of their 
husbands ; but what excuse can virgins find for a like regard to 
dress, who are liable to no such interference ? . . . Thou, if thou 
goest abroad, sumptuously arrayed, alluring the eyes of youth, 
drawing after thee the sighs of admirers, fomenting lawless pas- 
sions, and kindling the sparks of desire, and even, if not destroying 
thyself, destroying others, and presenting to their bosoms a poisoned 
dagger, canst not excuse thyself on the pretence of preserving a 
mind pure and modest. Thy pretext is shamed by thy criminal 
attire, and thy immodest decorations, nor shouldest thou be reck- 
oned amongst the maids of Christ, who so livest as if willing to 
captivate, and to be loved by, another." % The monks had many 
maxims that were intended to teach them a better lesson. The 
following lines are from Old Rhymes of the Monastic Life, pub- 
lished by Fabricius, and quoted by Fosbroke, in his British Mo- 

nachism : — 

" Habens vestltum et victum, 

Ut fert apostoli dictum, 

Niliil quseras amplius, 

De colore ne causeris, 

Si fit vilis tunc Iseteris, 

Et ficeris sobrius. 

Cave ne fis ciuiosus, 

In vestitu, nee gulosus 

In diversis epulis." 

* Lingard's Anglo-Saxon Church. t Ibid. 

X Taylor's Ancient Christianity. 


In some Budhistical countries there has been a similar departure 
from proi^riety ; but in lands where the fashions of dress change not, 
and each class or caste has its appropriate costume, the temptations 
to this evil are less powerful in their influence. The garment now 
Iworn by the priests in Ceylon is entirely of a yellow colour, but 
there is a considerable difference in the shade, the dress of some 
' appearing as if it were made of cloth that had been dyed by being 
i steeped in the mud, whilst that worn by others is of silk, bright and 
glossy. A priest who frequently visited me had a silken vest that 
was presented to him by the king of Siam ; and of this distinction, 
though an old man, he was not a little proud. The priests do not 
change their dress when proceeding to the performance of any 
ceremony, the usual robe being retained on all occasions. After the 
late rebellion in Ceylon, a priest who was sentenced to death for 
participation in the crime, having been shot in his robes, the go- 
vernor of the island was greatly blamed, in the House of Commons 
and by the press, for allowing the execution to take place in this 
manner ; but I think, unjustly ; unless the priest expressed a wish 
to adopt another dress, and was forbidden by the authorities. No 
one had the right to deprive him of his robes, until he was degraded 
from office by the superior priests ; and it -would probably have 
been regarded by him as an additional insult if an attempt had 
been made to take them away at the time of his execution. The 
robes of the Burman priests are sometimes of woollen cloth, of 
European manufacture. The Tibetan priests wear silken vests, 
adorned with images, and have a lettered border of sacred texts 
woven into the scarf. 

The adoption of one particular mode of dress by the ascetics was 
attended by a pernicious consequence, as it w^as supposed that 
merit might be gained by putting it on, though it covered a heart 
full of all corruption. According to a tradition of the Carmelites, 
Simon Stock, the prior general, 1251, received the scapulary from 
the Virgin. " The Virgin appeared to me," Stock is made to say, 
" with a great retinue, and holding up the habit of the order, 
exclaimed, This shall be a privilege to thee and to the whole body 
of the Carmelites ; whosoever shall die in it will be preserved from 
the eternal flame." It was said by some of the Franciscans that 
their sainted founder went down once a year to purgatory, and set 
free the souls of all whose bodies were buried in the habit of his 

* Giesler's Text Book. 


We have many proofs that among the ancients the use of orna- 
ments, garlands, perfumes, and unguents was carried to an extrava- 
gant excess. In taking upon himself the ten obligations, the priest 
says, according to the seventh, " I will observe the precept that 
forbids the adorning of the body with flowers or garlands, and the 
use of perfumes and unguents." In the Institutes of Manu (ii. 
178) there is a similar command ; " let the brahmachari, or student 
in theology, abstain from chaplets of flowers." But this law is not 
always binding, as we read again (Inst. iii. 3) ; " the student 
having received from his natural or spiritual father the sacred gift 
of the Veda, let him sit, before his nuptials, on an elegant bed, 
decked with a garland of flowers." The use of garlands was 
denied by Solon to any of the Athenians who were proved to be 
cowards. Empedokles, when saying that he was honoured by all, 
adds that he was " covered with garlands." The oil with which 
Venus anointed the body of Hector was perfumed with roses. In 
Capua there was one great street called the Seplasia, which con- 
sisted entirely of shops in which ointments and perfumes were sold. 
Horace (Sat. i. v. 36) ridicules the pomposity of a municipal officer in 
the small town of Fundi, who had a shovel of red-hot charcoal carried 
before him in public, for the purpose of burning on it frankincense 
and other odours. " The preparation of perfumes among the 
Israelites required great skill, and therefore formed a particular 
profession. The rokechim of Exod. xxx. 25, 35 ; Neh. iii. 8 ; 
Eccles. X. 1, called apothecary in the authorised version, was no 
other than a maker of perfumes. So strong were the better kinds 
of ointments, and so perfectly were the different component sub- 
stances amalgamated, that they have been known to retain their 
scent several hundred years. One of the alabaster vases in the 
museum at Alnwick castle, contains some of the ancient Egyptian 
ointment, between two and three thousand years old, and yet its 
odour remains."^' That the number of ornaments then in use was 
excessive we may learn from Isa. iii. 18 — 23. In the full dress of 
an eastern prince there were sixty-two different ornaments, the 
names of which are on record. And in restricting the priests to 
three robes of a prescribed kind, Gotama may have had in view the 
evils connected with a multiplicity of dresses. The Talmud enu- 
merates eighteen several garments that belonged to the clothing of 
the Jews. 

Kitto's Cyclopedia, art. Perfume. 


The ascetics had less authority for their peculiarities with respect 
to clothing than for some other of their customs, as even the angels, 
whom they loved so much to imitate, are represented as being 
clothed, when they visit our lower world, and as having '•• shining 
garments.'' In the Scriptures there is the same golden mean ob- 
served upon the subject of dress, that distinguishes the sacred 
record from all other Avritings. The garments of men and women 
are not to be of the same kind, Deut. xxii. 5 ; and extravagance in 
dress is censured ; but no restrictions are enforced that would be 
opi^rcssive to the w'earer, or make him an object of ridicule to the 
world. " I will," says the apostle Paul, " that women adorn them- 
selves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not 
with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array ; but (which 
becometh women professing godliness) with, good works." — 1 Tim. 
ii. 9. With which agreeth the admonition of the apostle Peter : — 
" Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting 
the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel ; but 
let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corrup- 
tible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the 
sight of God of great price." — 1 Peter iii. 4. 


Neither in the ten obligations binding upon the priest of Budha, 
nor in the precepts of the Patimokkhan, is a residence in the forest 
' insisted upon as a necessary privation. Gotama Budha, and the 
priests by whom he was usually accompanied, resided in wiharas. 
Nevertheless, the importance of a complete abandonment of all the 
conveniences of social life is frequently incvilcated in the sacred 
books ; and he is regarded as the sincerest recluse who resides in the 
wilderness, far away from the roof of a house, or even the umbra- 
geous canopy of a tree. The usual name by which the laic is desig- 
nated is that of grahapati, meaning literally the ruler or chief of a 
house ; but the word house is here to be regarded as referring rather 
to the family than to the place of residence. Among the Singhalese 
the word wihara is now more generally used of the place where 
worship is conducted; whilst the dwelling of the priest is called a 
ipansala, from pan, leaves, and sala, a dwelling, or a place to 



which any one is accustomed to resort, from a root which signifies 
to go. 

In the age of Gotama, the practice of asceticism appears to have 
prevailed throughout India in its most rigorous form, and to a 
great extent. But by the institutions of Budha, the infliction of 
self-torture is discountenanced ; and though some of the ordinances 
cannot be observed without much painful suff'ering, the primary 
idea in their appointment appears to have been that of privation 
and not of penance. Yet it was foreseen, or experience had already 
taught, that the enthusiasm of vast masses of celibates, frequently 
in solitude, but occasionally congregated for some common pur- 
pose, was too powerful an impulse to be brought under any ordinary 
mode of control ; and therefore, whilst the calmer spirits were 
allowed the advantage of a contemplative life, away from the temp- 
tations of ordinary existence, the fervour of individuals was directed 
into such a course, that it might be allowed the utmost extravagance 
of exercise, amidst the solitude of the wilderness, without pro- 
ducing any pernicious consequence beyond the personal limit of 
the ascetic. 

The apparent contradiction between the command given to the 
people to build wiharas, and the advice given to the priests to 
dwell in solitude, did not escape the notice of Milinda. The reply 
of Nagasena, when, enquiry was made as to the reason of this 
anomaly, was to the following effect : — " The beast of the forest 
has no settled dwelling; he eats his food here or there, and lies 
down to sleep in whatever place he may happen to be ; and the 
faithful priest must in these respects be like him. But still, from 
the building of wiharas there are two advantages. 1. It is an act 
that has been praised by all the Budhas, and they who perform it 
will be released from sorrow and attain nirwana. 2. When wiharas 
are built the priestesses have an opportunity of seeing the priests 
(and receiving instruction). Thus there is a reward for those 
who build dwellings for the priests ; but the faithful priest will not 
prefer such a place for his residence." 

In a former age the ascetic Sumedha reflected that there are eight 
objections to residing in a house : — 1. It causes much trouble in its 
erection. 2. It requires continual repair. 3. Some more exalted 
personage may require it. 4. The persons living in it may be nu- 
merous. 5. It causes the body to become tender. 6. It aff'ords 
opportunity for the commission of evil deeds. 7. It causes the 


covetous thought, This is mine. 8. It harbours lice, bugs, and 
other vermin. He then reflected that there are ten advantages to 
be derived from residing under a tree : — 1 . Such a place can be 
found with ease. 2. It can be found in any locality. 3. When 
seeing the decay of the leaves, the priest is reminded of other im- 
permancnces. 4. It does not cause any covetous thought. 5. It 
does not afford any opportunity for evil deeds. 6. It is not re- 
ceived from another. 7. It is the residence of dewas. 8. It requires 
no fence around it. 9. It promotes health. 10. As the ascetic 
can meet with it anywhere, it is not necessary for him to think that 
he will have to return to the place he previously occupied.* 

"When the priest resides in a fixed habitation, there are many 
things that require his attention ; there are also many conveniences, 
such as access to good water ; and all these things have a tendency 
to gain his affections, and induce the love of that which is connected 
with existence. But there are some priests to whom these things 
are not a snare, and who can use them without harm. There were 
two persons respectably connected who took the obligations of the 
priesthood at the wdhara of Thuparama, near Anuradhajjura. One 
of them afterwards went to the forest of Pachinakandaraja, where 
he resided five years. As he found it beneficial thus to live in 
solitude, he resolved to go and inform his friend of the advantage 
he had received, that he might be induced to enter upon the same 
course. When the day dawned, after his arrival at the wihara, he 
thought thus : — " The people who assist the priests will now send 
them cakes and rice-gruel, and whatever else they require ;" but 
nothing of this kind took place. He then thought that as the 
people did not bring any food, the priests would go with the bowl 
to the city to receive alms. At the proper hour he accompanied 
his friend to the city, and, though the food they received was 
trifling, they went to the appointed place and ate it. He now sup- 
posed that in a little time the people would be cooking their own 
rice, and that then the priests would be plentifully supplied. But 
the portion they received was small ; and they said that this was 
the quantity usually presented. The two priests afterwards set out 
to go to the forest ; but when they reached a potters' village in the 
way, it was found that the stranger had left at the wihara his 
walking-stick, his cruse for holding oil, and the bag in which he 
put his sandals ; but on mentioning this to the resident priest he 

* PlAJ&waliya. 

K 2 


learnt that his friend had no earthly possession whatever, as even 
the seat and bed that he used belonged to the chapter. The priest 
from the forest then said that it would be of no benefit to such a 
person to go to the solitude to which he had been invited, as all 
places were alike to him ; whilst at Thuparama he had many pri- 
vileges : he was near the relics of the Budhas ; he could hear the 
reading of the bana at the Lohaprasada ; there were many dagobas ; 
he could see many priests ; it was as though a supreme Budha were 
alive. He therefore recommended his friend to remain where he 
was, and he returned to the forest alone. 

It is recommended that when slesmawa, phlegm, or moha, igno- 
rance, is in excess, the priest should reside in the open forest ; when 
pita, bile, or dwesa, anger, at the foot of a tree ; when wata, wind, 
or raga, evil desire, in an empty house.* 

It is directed in the Palimokkhan, that the residence of the priest, 
if it be built for himself alone, shall be twelve spans, according to 
hthe span of Budha in length, and seven in breadth, inside. The 
site must be chosen in a place that is free from vermin, snakes, 
wild beasts, &:c., that the life of the priest, or of those who resort to 
him, may not be in danger, and that the destruction of animal life 
may not be caused by its erection. There must be a path around it 
wide enough for the passage of a cart. Before possession is taken 
a chapter of priests must see that it is not larger than the pre- 
scribed limits. Whether the residence is intended for one priest or 
for many, this rule must be enforced. When the dwelling is erected 
the priest may direct materials to be brought two or three times 
from grounds not under immediate cultivation, that the parts re- 
quiring stability may be rendered firm ; but this number of times is 
not to be exceeded. 

In the time of Gotama Budha, a priest who resided at Isigilla, 
near Rajagaha, having had his hut thrice broken down by the 
inhabitants, and being a potter, prepared a house entirely of 
earth. Collecting grass, wood, and other combustibles, he burnt 
it thoroughly, so that it became of a beautiful red colour, appeared 
like a golden beetle, and was sonorous as a bell. But when Budha 
saw it, he reprimanded him severely for having burnt the clay, 
without any feeling of compassion for the sentient beings he had 
destroyed during the operation, and commanded that it should be 
broken down.f 

* Wisudhi Margga Samie. 

t Gogerly's Essay on Budhism; Joiun. Ceylon Branch Royal As. Soc. i. 


The eighth of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Aranyakangu. 
The word aranya means a forest. The priest who keeps this ordi- 
nance cannot reside near a village, but must remain in the forest. 
If there be a boundary to the village, or a wall, he must remain as 
far from it as a strong man can throw a stone ; and if there be no 
boundary, he must reckon from the place where the women of the 
last house are accustomed to throw the water when they have 
washed their vessels. If there be only a single waggon or a soli- 
tary house, it must be regarded as a village ; whether there be a 
boundary or not, if there be people, or if people are intending to 
come, it is the same as a village. All places not coming under this 
description may be considered as the forest. It is said in the Ab- 
hidharmma, that the forest begins at the distance of the length of 
500 bows from the village. If a superior priest be sick, and that 
which is necessary for him cannot be obtained in the forest, he may 
be taken to a village ; but the priest who accompanies him must 
leave before sunrise the next morning ; though his superior should 
even be dangerously ill, he cannot remain in the village to assist 
him. The priest who keeps the superior ordinance must always 
remain in the forest. He who keeps the middle ordinance may re- 
main in a village during the rainy season, in which wass is per- 
formed. He who keeps the inferior ordinance may remain in a 
village during the four months of the hot season, as well as during 
the four months of the rains. Whoever enters a village to hear 
bana, and for this purpose alone, does not violate the rule ; but he 
must go away before sunrise, and may not remain when the bana is 
concluded. Budha declared that the priest who resides in a forest 
had his respect. The recluse of the forest does not meet with those 
things that suggest what is improper to enter into the mind ; he 
becomes free from fear, though living in solitude ; the love of 
existence passes away, through his being continually exposed to 
wild beasts and other dangers. When at a distance from men, 
there is the true privilege of solitude, an advantage that even Sekra 
does not receive. To him who lives thus, the second ordinance will 
be as a shield, and the rest of the ordinances as so many weapons ; 
the forest will be as an arena of battle, and, as if in a chariot, he 
will proceed to conquer Mara, or evil desire. 

The first of the Twelve Sacred Observances of the Chinese is 
called a Ian jo (aranyaka), according to which the mendicant ought 
always to dwell in a " lieu de repos, lieu tranquille." It is the 


means of avoiding the troubles of the mind, of removing the dust 
of desire, of destroying the causes of revolt, and of obtaining tran- 
scendental wisdom.* 

The ninth of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Rukhamulikanga, 
from rukha, a tree, and mula a root. The priest who keeps this 
ordinance must avoid all tiled houses, and live at the root of a tree 
(the root being defined to be the space within which the leaves fall 
on a calm day, or on which the shadow of the tree falls at noon) ; 
but trees of the following kinds are prohibited : a tree at the limit 
of a country ; a tree in which any dewa resides who receives offer- 
ings from the people ; a tree whence gum is taken, or edible fruits 
are gathered ; a tree in which there are owls, or a hollow tree ; and 
a tree in the midst of the ground belonging to a wihara. The priest 
who keeps the superior ordinance may not live in a place that is 
pleasant or agreeable. From the spot in which he resides he must 
put away the leaves with his foot. He who keeps the middle or- 
dinance may live in a place prepared by others. He who keeps the 
inferior ordinance may call a novice to prepare a place for him, by 
sprinkling sand, and putting a fence round, as if it were a house. 
The priest must leave the tree, if ever there should be a festival 
near it. None of the three can live in a house without breaking 
the ordinance ; and it is also broken if the priest goes to any place 
where there is a concourse of people. When he sees the leaves 
falling he is to think of the impermanency of all things. This or- 
dinance was much commended by Gotama Budha. It was at the 
root of a tree that he received his birth, became Budha, preached 
his first sermon, and died. 

The tenth of the Twelve Sacred Observances of the Chinese is 
called vrikchamoulika. The mendicant who has not attained to 
wisdom amidst the tombs ought to meditate imder a tree, and there 
to search out reason, as did Budha, who accomplished under a tree 
the principal circumstances of his life.f 

The tenth of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Abbhokasikanga, 
from abbhi, open, void, and okasa, space. The priest who keeps 
this ordinance may not live in a place where there are people, or 
at the root of a tree ; but in an open space. He may enter the 
wihara to hear bana ; and he may go to hear bana, or to say bana 
to another, if called for that purpose ; as may the priest who ob- 
serves the preceding ordinance. He may enter the refectory, or 

* Remusat's Relation. t Ibid. 


the place where water is warmed for the priests to bathe, when 
going to hear or say bana ; he may also go inside to place a seat 
for a superior priest, if there be not one previously ; when going 
along the road, if he sees an aged priest carrying the alms-bowl, 
or any other requisite, he may carry it for him to relieve him, or 
even for a young priest, if he be weak ; when it rains he may go 
for shelter to any place in the middle of the road, but he may not 
leave the road for that purpose, nor is he allowed to run ; but when 
carrying the requisites of another he may go quickly, and may seek 
a place of shelter, even though it be not in the middle of the road ; 
yet he may not remain Avhen the rain is over. The same rules 
apply to the priest who observes the jDreceding ordinance. The 
priest who keeps the superior ordinance cannot live near a tree, or 
a rock, or a house ; but in an open space he may put up his robe as 
a screen. He who keeps the middle ordinance may remain under 
an overhanging rock. He who keeps the inferior ordinance may 
live in a cave into which the rain percolates, a threshing-floor when 
the people are gone, a shed made wdth leaves or with talipot, or a 
lodge made for the purpose of watching the rice-fields. Any of the 
three who lives in a place where there are people, or at the root of 
a tree, and not in an open space, breaks this ordinance. 

The eleventh of the Twelve Sacred Observances of the Chinese is 
called abhyavakashika. The mendicant, remaining under a tree, and 
partly covered by its shade, minds not the cold. It is true that the 
rain and humidity reach him, that the dung of birds defiles him, and 
that he is liable to be wounded by venomous beasts ; but he is at 
liberty to exercise meditation. Remaining upon the ground his 
spirit is refreshed ; the shining of the moon seems to purify his 
mind ; and he can more readily become entranced.* 

The eleventh of the Thirteen Ordinances is called Sosanikanga, 
from sosana, a cemetery, or place where the dead have been depo- 
sited, or where dead bodies have been burnt. The priest who 
keeps this ordinance must ahvays reside in a cemetery, and it must 
not be near a village. Until twelve years have passed over from 
the time a body is burnt, the place may be regarded as a sosana. 
The priest may not make a place like a court of ambulation, nor 
frame a hut ; he may not sit in a chair or recline on a couch ; and 
he is forbidden to provide water, as if it were a priest's regular 
dwelling. This is a very difficult ordinance, and must be observed 

* Remusat's Relation. 


with much sorrowful determination. When walking, he must turn 
his eye in part towards the cemetery ; and when he enters it, it 
must not be by the principal road, but by an unfrequented bye- 
path. When walking in the day-tinr(e, if he sees a tree or an ant- 
hill, he must mark what it is, and he will then not be afraid of what 
he may see at night. He may not cast stones at the devils he may 
see or hear. He may not remain away from the place a single 
night ; he must always be there at midnight, but at dawn may 
leave it ; he must not eat any kind of food that is agreeable to the 
devils or that is made with sesamum, mee, flour, flesh, or sugar (lest 
evil should befall him from the wish of the devils to possess these 
things for their own benefit) ; he must look out for the bones left 
by dogs and other animals. He may not enter any house, as he 
lives in the midst of the smoke arising from the funeral pile and of 
the stench proceeding from dead bodies. The priest who keeps 
the superior ordinance is always to remain in some place where 
there is the burning of bodies, the stench of corruption, and weep- 
ing for the loss of friends. He who keeps the middle ordinance 
may remain in the place where there is any one of these three. He 
who keeps the inferior ordinance may remain in any place where a 
body has been deposited within the space of twelve years. The 
priest who remains away from the sosana a single night breaks this 

The ninth of the Twelve Sacred Observances of the Chinese is 
called s'mas'anika. To dwell among the tombs brings to the mind 
of the mendicant just ideas relative to the three things that are the 
first gate of the law of Foe, "I'instabilite, la douleur, et le vide." 
He here sees the spectacle of death and of funerals. The putridity 
and corruption, tlie impurities of every kind, the funeral piles, the 
birds of prey, generate within him thoughts relative to the imper- 
manency of all things and hasten the progress of that which is 

The residences of the priests in Ceylon are usually mean erec- 
tions, being built of wattle, filled up with mud, whilst the roof is 
covered with straw, or the platted leaves of the cocoa-nut tree. 
Their residences in Burma appear to be of the same description, 
but those in Siam are much superior, having richly-carved entrances, 
and ornamented roofs. None of the fervour of the original institu- 
tion is now manifested among the Singhalese. About the year 

* Remusat's Relation. 


1835 there was a priest near Negombo who professed never to re- 
side in a house, and to subsist entirely upon fruits. From the sin- 
guhirity of his appearance, and the mystery of his life, he was 
an object of great terror to children. Though regarded by some 
persons as sincere, his conduct was generally condemned, and he 
was thought to be of weak intellect. 

This mode of asceticism is of too striking a character not to have 
had many imitators in the west. Mary, of Egypt, resided in the 
desert beyond the Jordan forty- seven years. During the first four 
years of the penance of Hilarion he had no other shelter from the 
inclemencies of the weather than a little hovel, made of reeds and 
rushes woven together. He afterwards built a little cell, still to be 
seen in the time of Jerome, which was only a little longer than his 
body, four feet broad, and five feet in height. Martinianus lived 
many years upon a rock surrounded by water, in the open air. 
James, of Nisibis, chose the highest mountains for his abode, re- 
tiring to a cave in the winter, and the rest of the year living in the 
woods, in the open air. Martin, of Tours, had a cell built of wood, 
his monks having generally cells of a similar description, whilst 
some resided in various holes dug in the sides of the rocks. In the 
sixth century it was customary in some places for a monk, cele- 
brated for his virtues, to be chosen, who was aftei'wards to lead the 
life of a recluse, walled up in a cell, and spending his whole time in 
fasting, praying, and weeping. Marcian shut himself up in a small 
enclosure, out of which he never went, his cell being so low and 
narrow, that he could neither stand nor lie in it without bending his 
body. But the most singular residence was that of Simeon Stylites, 
who passed thirty years of his life upon the top of a column, which 
was gradually raised from nine to sixty feet in height. 

Even in our own inclement country, the zeal of these ancient 
ascetics has been emulated. Simon Stock, a youth of Kent, in the 
twelfth year of his age, retired to the forest, and resided in the 
hollow of a large oak tree. AVhen the anchorets of England re- 
tired from the world, the ceremony of seclusion was generally 
presided over by the bishop. Their cells, twelve feet square, had 
three apertures, one for receiving the housel, another for food, and 
the third for lights. The door was generally walled up, and the 
anchoret was not permitted to come out, "but by consent and bene- 
diction of the bishop, in case of great necessity." 



The yoke of the recluse must in many instances be exceedingly 
painful of endurance. Far away is he from all the amenities of the 
world, though formed by the hand of God to seek their enjoyment; 
he is often alone, and has much leisure, by which the melancholy 
circvimstances of his situation are almost continually presented to 
his mind ; the silence and solitude that are around him people 
themselves with shapes that appear to him with mockery and gibe, 
until his own spirit seems to add its powers to the number of his 
persecutors ; and in the place where he expected to find peace 
there is only disappointment and vexation. Yet if he be a coe- 
nobite also, there are occasional opportunities of intercourse with 
other men, all of whom are enduring the same piercing of the soul 
by that which is -more cruel than the serpent's tooth ; and if per- 
mitted the exhibition of the slightest symptom of dissatisfaction, or 
to communicate to each other their individual woes, the heaviest 
bar and the strongest wall would be insufficient to retain them 
within the bounds by which they are circumscribed. The gloomy 
abstractedness, the svmken eye, channelled brow, hollow cheek, 
pallid countenance, and attenuated frame, with which the painter 
delights to present to us the monk, are the faithful semblances of a 
sad reality ; and these emaciations are too frequently the result of 
painful exercises of discipline imposed by an imperious master, and 
not from vigils and penances self-imposed, that the body may be 
subdued, and the Avhole man be soul. The code of discipline to 
which he is subject is therefore most severe and stringent in all 
that relates to intercourse with members of the same fraternity : to 
his superior, he must be in every respect submissive ; to his equal, 
reserved ; and to his inferior, distant. The necessity of implicit 
obedience is therefore insisted upon in all monkish canons. It is 
one of the eight things requisite to monastic perfection, and is called 
" the cardinal virtue of monks." In the monasteries founded by 
David, the patron of Wales, the candidates for admission had to 
wait ten days at the door, during which time they were tried with 
harsh words and repeated refusals, in order that they might learn to 
die to themselves ; and they were afterwards required to discover 
their most secret thoughts and temptations to the abbot. In the 
Hegula Benedicti, cap. 5, it is said, " Primus humilitatis gradus 
est obcdientia sine mora;" and in tlie first chapter it is said that 


the rule and life of the Franciscans is this, " to obey the holy gospel 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience, without property, and 
in chastity." But to see this principle in perfection we must exa- 
mine the institutes of the Jesuits. The most perfect obedience and 
self-denial were the two first lessons that Ignatius inculcated upon 
his novices. They were told at the door, as they entered, that they 
must leave behind them all self-will and private judgment. In his 
letter to the Portuguese Jesuits, On the Virtue of Obedience, he 
says that this alone brings forth and nourishes all other virtues. 
He calls it the peculiar virtue and distinguishing characteristic of 
his society, in which, if any member suffer himself to be outdone 
by those of other orders in fasting or watching, he must yield to 
none in obedience. He adds that true obedience must reach the 
understanding as well as the will, and never suffer a person even 
secretly, to complain of, or censure, the precept of a superior ; nor 
is it a less fault to break the laws of obedience in watching than in 
sleeping, in labouring than in doing nothing. No particular bodily 
austerities are prescribed by the rules of the society ; but there are 
two practices that are to be most rigorously observed. The first is 
called the rule of Manifestation, by which every member is required 
to discover even his inclinations to his superior ; the second is, that 
every member renounces his right to his own reputation with his 
superior, giving leave to every brother immediately to inform his 
superior of his faults, without first observing the law of private cor- 
rection, which in common cases is acknowledged to be right."^' 

The profound respect that was paid by the inmates of the monas- 
tery to their abbot maybe learnt from the following extract of a MS. 
in the British Museum relative to the abbey of Evesham. " The 
newly-elected abbot, if he were consecrated out of the monastery, 
shall, when he returns, be received by us in a festive procession. 
After his instalment by the prior, he is everywhere to be received 
with particular reverence. We must be reverently obedient to him 
in all things lawful: and as he passes along, either through the 
cloister, through any of the offices, or any where except in the dor- 
mitory, all shall stand up and bow to him while passing No 

one shall walk abreast with him, except to mass. Wherever he shall 
sit, no one shall presume to sit down by him, unless he command 
him so to do. If bidden to sit down by him, that person shall bow 
to him in a devout manner, and thus humbly take his seat 

* Hospin. De Monachis. Alban Butler, July 31. 


Whoever shall give anything into his hand, or receive anything 
from him, shall kiss his hand. Wherever he shall be present, 
there should be observed the strictest order and discipline. When 
he shall reprehend any monk who has behaved or spoken amiss, 
■whether it be within the cloister or not, that monk shall afterwards 
entreat his pardon in a humble manner, as if in the chapter-house, 
and shall stand before him till ordered to sit down ; and as long as 
he sees him to be angry, so long shall he entreat for pardon, till his 
wrath be appeased." *•' 

The Essenes paid so great a respect to each other, that if ten of 
them were sitting together, no one would speak if it were contrary 
to the wishes of the nine ; and if a senior among them were only 
touched by a junior, he had to wash himself from the pollution, as 
he would have had to do if touched by a stranger. The results to 
which the law of obedience led were of a varied character. The 
director of John, the Dwarf, bade him, as his first lesson, plant a 
dry walking-stick in the ground, which he was to water every day 
until it brought forth fruit. The novice was obedient, though he 
had to fetch the water a considerable distance ; but in the third 
year the stick actually took root, put forth leaves and buds, and pro- 
duced fruit, which John gathered and gave to his brethren, telling 
them that it was the fruit of obedience. When Lanfranc, after- 
wards archbishop of Canterbury, was once reading a Latin sentence 
he was stopped and told by his superior to pronounce the e in do- 
cere short. Though he knew that he was right, he made the altera- 
tion as commanded, saying that it was a greater sin to disobey the 
abbot, who commanded him in Christ's name, than to adopt a 
wrong quantity. A similar story is told of the still more celebrated 
Thomas Aquinas. It was part of the Benedictine rule, that when 
two monks met, the junior was to ask benediction from the senior ; 
and Avhen he passed by the junior was to rise and give him his seat, 
nor to sit down till he bade him. When the abbot entered the 
chapter, all descended one step and bowed to him, standing on the 
same step until he sat down. ^Vhen he went out with benediction, 
the monks met him on their knees, and gave the kiss of charity, to 
his hand first, and afterwards to his mouth, if he offered it. When 
the monks delivered anything to him they kneeled, kissing his 
hand if he was seated. No brother was allowed (cap. 37) among 

* Tindal's History of Evesham. 


the Benedictines to cross the threshold of the monastery without 
the permission of his superior. 

It is probable that in this part of the institute the ascetic would 
meet with his heaviest cross. By the constitution of our species, as 
social beings, we are necessitated on many occasioiis to give up our 
own will ; and whenever new associations are formed, whether as a 
family, a club, an order, a sect, a city, or a country, there are addi- 
tional barriers to the exercise of the individual will. But in all 
these instances there is an interchange of assistance, a reciprocity of 
kindly offices, and an acknowledged advantage, that causes the mo- 
mentary sacrifice on our part to be recompensed in a thousand 
modes, that are more than an equivalent for the loss we have had to 
sustain ; so that the home in which the family is congregated, or 
the country by which the exercise of our national institutions is 
bounded, are magic words that have often been the most powerful 
impulse in the rallying cry that has led men on to victory or death. 
But there is in man a natural propensity to usurp a greater autho- 
rity than that which is properly conceded to him, on account of the 
position in which he is accidentally placed as a ruler. In this re- 
spect we are true children of the father-fiend, who is made to say 
that he had rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. It is a base 
lie that he utters, as he would readily give up his sovereignty to be 
the lowest of the seraphs that ministers before the throne ; but it is 
one so consonant with our own corrupt imaginations that we give it 
credence, until maturer thought has convinced us that it is an empty 
boast. In the monastic institutes this passion has been carried out 
to its utmost limit. The recluse was taught that all within, as well 
as all without, is to be abandoned ; that not only the mine but the 
me was to be sacrificed at the ascetic altar. The superior aimed at 
exercising an influence like that of the steam-engine of some exten- 
sive manufactory in modern times, which throughout the vast edifice 
over which it rules is the motive power by which every thread is 
thrown and every wheel revolves. There was a restriction upon all 
the senses of the monk, that there might be no outward irregularity ; 
and if the mind wandered, however innocently, from the pre:scribcd 
course, the weakness was to be confessed to the superior aud abso- 
lution sought. In the Patimokkhan the misdemeanours that require 
confession and absolution form the more numerous class. 

When viewed in connexion with this severity of discipline, some 
of the names given to the monks and nuns, as brother, and abbot ; 


sister, and abbess ; appear to be singularly inappropriate, as the 
tender associations to which they allude ought to have no place in 
the breast of the recluse, if the principle of asceticism be right. He 
is not allowed to love any being whatever upon earth ; the order or 
the institute, a thing of the imagination, is to engross the place of 
every relationship ; and it sometimes usurps the place of God. The 
titles given to the superior priests of Budha are more consistent 
with their circumstances, being equivalent rather to prior or archi- 
mandrite. Jerome did not api:)rove of the word abbas, as he thought 
that its use was contrary to the command, to " call no man father 
upon earth." 

Among the Budhists, so strict a rigidity of social discipline is not 
required, as the priests are enjoined to take the alms-bowl from 
house to house, in order to procure food. This itself is an employ- 
ment, enough to engage the attention withov;t producing fatigue, 
whilst it affords them the opportunity of exercise ; and by bringing 
them into contact with much that is beautiful in the world without, 
is equally beneficial to the body and the mind. We have therefore 
no reason to suppose that in the pansal there is exercised the cruelty 
of the western inquisitor, who too frequently wrings tears and blood 
from the reluctant inmate of his dark prison-house before his spirit 
is subdued or his heart broken. Nevertheless, there is the recogni- 
tion of the same principle ; every mark of respect is to be paid to 
the superior priest, and the causing of a division among the priest- 
hood is one of the sins from the penal consequences of which 
there is no possible release by means of anything that can be done 
in the present state of existence. 

The following precepts are contained in the Patimokkhan : The 
priest is forbidden to bring a groundless charge against another 
priest, in order to have him excluded from the community ; he is 
not to take hold of some trifling matter, and found a charge thereon ; 
with all solemnity he is charged not to sow dissensions, or to en- 
deavour to perpetuate existing divisions, among the priesthood ; no 
one is to aid and abet a priest who is causing divisions : the priest 
is not to refuse admonition ; when spoken to on account of any 
evil conduct, he is not to say that the priests are captious and par- 
tial ; he is not to use contemptuous speech, nor to slander the 
priests ; unless with permission, he is not to declare to others the 
crimes of the priests ; he is not to go to the place previously occu- 
pied by another priest, in order to annoy him, and cause him to 


leave ; he is not from anger, to expel another priest, or cause him 
to be expelled ; he is not to act unkindly, or do anything that would 
discompose another priest; he is not to hide, or cause to be hid, 
even in sport, the articles belonging to another priest ; he is not to 
brine forward again a cause that has been once decided ; he is im- 
plicitly to obey the precepts called Sahadammikan (laws binding on 
all the priests) ; he is not to be angry with another priest and strike 
him or push against him ; he is not to suggest doubts against ano- 
ther priest, in order to annoy him, nor is he to listen when other 
priests are in debate or at strife ; and he is not to consent to any 
ecclesiastical procedure, and then complain of the investigation. 

The law declaring that the priest shall not take hold of any 
trifling matter and found a charge thereon was enacted by Gotama 
Budha under the following circumstances. A certain priest wish- 
ing to ruin another priest, named Dabbo, was unable to accomplish 
his object without resorting to an equivocation, as the conduct of 
Dabbo was blameless. Walking one day with his fellow-priests, 
and seeing a flock of goats, he said that he would give to one of the 
he-goats the name of Dabbo, and to a she-goat the name of Mettiya 
(a priestess who had been previously excluded), in order that he 
might be enabled to declare that he had seen Dabbo and Mettiya 
guilty of improper conduct. An investigation took place, but the 
equivocation was detected ; and this law was enacted in conse- 

It is forbidden to the inferior priests to be in the company of the 
superior, or those who are more aged, without paying them proper 
respect. They are not to jostle them, nor to go in front of them 
when seated ; nor arc they to sit on a higher seat, or to talk when 
near them, or when talking with them to use action with their hands 
and feet ; they are not to walk near them with their sandals on, or 
to walk about in some part of the same court at a higher elevation, 
or to walk at the same place at the same time. They are not to go 
before them or press upon them, when carrying the alms-bowl. 
They are not to be harsh with the novices. And they are not to 
take upon themselves matters with which they have no right to in- 
terfere, such as to put firewood in the place where water is warmed 
for bathing, or to shut the door of the bath, without permission.! 
The crime called sangha-bheda, or the causing of a division 

* Gogcrly's Translation of the P^timokkhan ; Ceylon Friend, Dec. 1839. 
t Wisudhi Margga Sanne. 


among the priesthood, is one of the five deadly sins, for which the 
delinquent must suffer during a whole kalpa in hell. It cannot be 
committed by a laic or a novice ; it can only be done by one who 
has received upasampada ordination/* The five deadly sins have 
been already enumerated, p. 37. 

Some of these regulations will remind the reader of the forms 
observed on board our men of war. The strictness of the discipline 
that is enforced is the salient point at which the monk and the sol- 
dier meet ; and though the warrior and the recluse form an anti- 
thesis, in this as in many other instances extremes have been made 
to meet from some partial resemblance, and in the year 1119, a 
military order was founded in Jerusalem combining the monastic 
life with the tumult of the camp and the strife of the battle. 


, The code of ecclesiastical law called Patimokkhan, is to be re- 
f cited bi-monthly in a chapter of not fewer than four priests. But 
the ascetic brotherhood appear ever to dislike being reminded of 
their duty, as this rule is not attended to in Ceylon, and an abbot 
of Wardon, in his letter of resignation, assigns the following as one 
of the reasons why he could no longer hold the office. " They be 
in nombre xv brethern, and excepte iij of them, non understande 
ne knowe ther rule nor the statutes of ther religione." Yet 
according to the Regulations of Benedict all the monks who are 
able, are to learn the rules of the order memoriter. 

Before the Patimokkhan is read, the place of assembly must be 
swept, low cushions prepared for the priests to sit upon, and water 
placed for them to drink. There are twenty-one persons who may 
not be present, as laics, eunuchs, &c. Between each priest a space 
is to be left of two cubits and a-half. The chapter is not legally 
constituted if all the priests are under ecclesiastical censure for the 
same crime. In that case it will be necessary that they be 
absolved by some one who is not guilty; but if they be guilty of 
different faults they can absolve each other, after confession, and 
then proceed to business. When one section of the rule is read, 
the enquiry is made three times if all that are present have observed 

* Miliiida Prasna. 


the precept ; and if no answer is given, it is supposed to be in the 
affirmative ; but if any one has broken the precept, and does not 
confess it, he is regarded as being guilty of a wilful lie. When 
a priest has been guilty of any of the thirteen crimes that involve 
suspension and penance, and shall conceal the fact, upon its 
discovery he is placed under restraint as many days as he has 
concealed it, then for six nights he is subject to a kind of 
penance, and after this period he may be restored to his office by a 
chapter, at which twenty priests must be present. No priest is 
allowed to question the utility of reading the Patimokkhan, in the 
manner prescribed, and if any priest is convicted of manifesting im- 
patience relative to the reading of this code, he is to confess his 
crime and receive absolution. The matters brought before the 
chapter are to be deliberately investigated, and the sentence is to 
be determined by the majority. The modes of punishment that are 
appointed are of the mildest description, including reprimand, for- 
feiture, penance, suspension, and exclusion. The principal exer- 
cises of penance appear to be, sweeping the court-yard of the 
wihara, and sprinkling sand under the bo-tree or near the dagobas. 
i In one legend it is stated that some ascetics, who were required as 
1 penance to go to the Ganges and take up a portion of sand which 
they were to bring to a certain place, had by this means, in the 
course of time, made a mound of sand that was many miles in ex- 
tent. It was the custom of Pachomius to carry sand from one place 
to another, in the night season, when he wished to overcome his 

It is said in the Wisudhi Margga Sanne, that when a priest falls 
into an error, or commits a fault, that is comparatively of little mo- 
ment, he is to seek forgiveness from a superior priest ; and if all 
who reside in the same wihara are inferior to himself, he is to go to 
some other wihara for the purpose. Until absolution is thus re- 
ceived, the evils arising from the fault continue to exist. 

In Burma, when a priest is detected in the violation of the law 
of continence, the inhabitants of the place where he lives expel him 
from his monastery, sometimes driving him away with stones. The 
government then strips him of his habit, and inflicts upon him a 
public punishment. The grand master, under the predecessor of 
Badonsachen, having been convicted of this crime, he was deprived 
of all his dignities, and narrowly escaped decapitation, to which 
punishment he was condemned by the emperor. Whenever a priest 


has been guilty of a violation of the rules of his order, he is required 
to go immediately to his superior, and kneeling down before him, 
confess his crime. There are some sins, of which confession must 
be made, not merely before the priest, but before all who are as- 
sembled in the chapter. A penance is then imposed upon the de- 
linquent, which consists of prayers (or, more probably, of stanzas 
from the bana), to be recited for a certain number of days, accord- 
ing to the time he has suffered to elapse without confession ; and 
these prayers must be said in the night. A promise must also be 
given to refrain from such faults in future, and pardon asked of all 
the priests for the scandal given, with a humble request to be again 
admitted into the order. But these regulations are at present much 
netrlected, as the priests content themselves with an indefinite mode 
of confession, something resembling the Confiteor of the Roman- 

Among the Benedictines, when an offence was committed, there 
was, first, private admonition, then public reproof, separation from 
the society of the brethren, corporal punishment, expidsion ; the 
delinquent was permitted to return thrice, but after the fourth re- 
lapse he was ejected for ever. The discipline of some of the orders 
was extremely severe. According to the rule imposed by an Irish 
saint, Columban, the monk who did not say Amen at grace, before 
and after meals, was to have six lashes ; he who talked in the refec- 
tory was also to have six lashes ; and he who coughed at the be- 
ginning of a psalm was to be treated in a similar manner, as well as 
he who touched the chalice with his teeth, or smiled during the time 
of divine service. They who spoke roughly and frowardly were to re- 
ceive fifty lashes, as well as they who were disrespectful to the supe- 
rior. For small faidts the chastisement was six lashes ; for greater, 
especially in things relating to the mass, sometimes 200 lashes were 
given, but never more than twenty-five at one time. When a monk 
had finished his task of work, if he did not ask for more, penance 
was enjoined. Among the punishments were prolonged fasts, 
silence, separation from the table, and humilations.f 

The clergy were anciently punished by suspension ; by being 
mulcted of a portion of their salary ; by being forbidden to exercise 
some of the duties of their office ; by degradation, as from the rank 
of priest to that of deacon ; and by non-admission to the sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper, unless they approached the table as laymen. 
The inferior clergy were liable to imprisonment and stripes. In 
* Sangermano's Burmese Empire. f Alban Butler, Nov. 21. 


large cities there were houses of correction, decanica, attached to 
the churches. In extreme cases excommunication was resorted to, 
after which there was no possibility of restoration to the clerical 

The authority of the popes of Rome was never displayed in such 
appalling magnificence as when they laid the nations under an in- 
terdict. It was then that the prophecy was fulfilled, which spake 
of him " who opposeth and exalteth himself ahove all that is called 
God, or that is worshipped ; so that he as God sitteth in the temple 
of God, shewing himself that he is God." — 2 Thess. ii. 4. As the 
ancient kings are represented as being moved from beneath to meet 
the monarch of Babylon on his entrance into sheol, so we can ima- 
gine the princes of all times, from those who had merely executed 
justice to those who had waded through seas of gore, going forth to 
do homage to these " vicegerents of the Almighty," when their 
" pomp was brought down to the grave," for having so far surpassed 
all other potentates, in the strength of the spell they dared to mutter, 
the terribleness of the fears they aroused, and the varied character 
of the miseries they inflicted upon men. It was not merely that all 
religious offices were suspensed, that the churches were closed 
against the laity, the altar against the performance of marriage, and 
the churchyard against the burial of the dead; in addition, the clergy 
were placed in deadly opposition to the laity, and the laity to the 
clergy. The consequences of this antagonism were sometimes 
tremendous, as when John cast into prison GeofFry, archdeacon 
of Norwich (for having abdicated the functions of his office as a 
judge of the exchequer when he heard that his king was excom- 
municated), and caused him to be wrapped in a sheet of lead shaped 
like an ecclesiastical mantle, leaving him, without food, to perish 
under the weight of the metal by which he was oppressed. At the 
period of the same interdict the ecclesiastics, generally, were ex- 
posed to ill-treatment and murder from all ranks. They had sus- 
pended the privileges of the church to punish the people, and the 
people suspended the privileges of the state to punish them. 

It was the peculiar privilege of the commandries of the Knights 
Hospitalars to be permitted to receive persons under sentence of 
excommunication. By a rule of their order persons who had been 
denounced might take refuge in their churches, where lights were 
directed to be kept continually burning. The Hospitalars might 

* Riddle's Christian Antiquities. 

I. 2 


visit interdicted persons when sick to administer consolation, and 
inter them when dead with the rites of the church in the cemeteries 
belonging to their own order ; if they passed through an interdicted 
place, they, and they alone, could perform mass in the churches ; 
and if even a whole city or province were excommunicated the 
people could still resort to the commandries for the offices of reli- 
gion. There were certain monasteries, as that at Bury, that had 
also the privilege, as a peculiar mark of pontifical favour, of exemp- 
tion from the general effects of the interdict. " With the doors 
shut, without ringing of bell, and with a low voice," the services 
were at such times to be performed.* 

It appears from the Tibetan works on Eiidhism that the priests 
of Gotama were accustomed to put under ban, or interdict, any per- 
son or family, in the following mode. In a public assembly, after 
the facts had been investigated, an alms-bowl was turned with its 
mouth downwards, it being declared by this act that from that time 
no one was' to hold communication with the individual against whom 
the fault had been proved. According to the text, no one was to 
enter his house, or to sit down there, or to take alms from him, or 
to give him religious instruction. After a reconciliation had taken 
place, the ban was taken off by the alms-bowl being placed in its 
usual position. This act was as significant as the bell, book, and 
candle ; but much less repulsive in its aspect and associations. 


The priests in Ceylon are seldom seen with anything in the hand, 
unless it be the alms-bowl, or the fan which, like a hand-screen, is 
carried to prevent the eyes from beholding vanity. They are usually 
followed by an attendant, called the abittaya. When the priest 
receives the offering of a fleece of wool, he is forbidden by the 
Patimokkhan to carry it a greater distance than three yojanas. 

The priest is forbidden to dig the ground, or to cause it to be 
dug ; he is not to cut trees or grass ; he is not to sprinkle water in 
which there are insects upon grass or clay, or cause it to be sprin- 
kled ; he is not to go to view an army, unless there be a sufficient 
reason, in which case he may remain with the army two or three 

* Taylor's Index Monasticus. 


nights, but not longer, and in this period he may not go to the 
place of combat, or to the muster of troops, or to see any sight con- 
nected with the army. The priest may not, when in health, kindle 
a fire to warm himself, or cause one to be kindled, unless it be the 
mere lighting of a lamp, or some similar act.* 

The disgusting filthiness exhibited by some of the ancient monks 
is seldom presented among the jiricsts of Budha. Cleanliness of 
the person is inculcated ; but the priest is not allowed to bathe 
more frequently than once a fortnight, unless it be in six weeks of 
the summer and the first month of the rainy season, or when sick, 
or engaged in work or travelling, or when there is rain accompanied 
by wind. The priests of Egypt, according to Herodotus (ii. 37), 
washed themselves in cold water twice every day and twice every 
night. Among the Benedictines, the monks in health, and espe- 
cially the young, were commanded (Reg. cap. 36) to be sparing in 
the use of the bath ; but it might be used by the sick as often as 
was necessary. The more rigorous climate in which the greater 
part of the ascetics of Christendom resided, would cause the more 
ancient institute to be greatly modified, in order that it might be- 
come adapted to its novel circumstances. The monks in the fens 
of Lincolnshire, as well as those that have had to live amidst the 
everlasting snows of the Alps, would have perished, if not allowed 
the warmth of a fire. Hence the calefactory was a necessary apart- 
ment in all the monasteries of the north ; and would no doubt be a 
favourite place of resort to those of the fraternity who were the ten- 
derest, the merriest, or the most indolent. 

The priest is to use a tooth-cleaner regularly in the morning. It 
is generally made of some fibrous substance. The Brahmans have 
a similar observance. " A brahman rising from sleep is enjoined, 
under penalty of losing the benefit of all rites performed by him, to 
rub his teeth with a proper withe." f 

In the sacred writings there are frequent allusions to customs 
connected with the strangers who visited the wiharas, from which 
we may infer that they received all necessary attention and assist- 
ance ; but in every instance that I remember, the reference is to 
priests alone, and it does not appear that laymen are permitted, 
when travelling, to take up their abode within the precincts of any 
place occupied by the sramanas of Budha. There was therefore no 
edifice attached to the wihara, like the xenodochium, in which any 
* Patimokkhan. t Colcbrooke's Miscellaneous Essays, i. 12-1. 


traveller might receive temporary relief, and in which a certain 
number of the poor were relieved by a daily alms. The monks 
were indebted to this institution for a great part of their popularity ; 
but thovigh in the olden time it was a useful and almost necessary 
establishment, it was liable to be much abused, and its proceedings 
would often bring sorrow to the minds of the more conscientious 

The priest may not enter the village, or sit down in it loudly 
laughing, but speaking in a low tone, with a steady gait ; not 
swinging the arms about, or turning the head, or with his arms 
placed on his hips, or with his head covered. He may not sit on 
his heels in the village, or sit lolling. And he is not to perform the 
offices of nature standing, nor upon any growing vegetable sub- 
stance, nor in water. ^' 

There are some precepts contained in the Patimokkhan that can- 
not be understood unless the circumstances that gave rise to them 
are known ; such as, that " if any priest shall place a bed or stool 
with unfastened legs upon the upper terrace of a residence, and sit 
or lie down upon it, it is pachittiyan, a fault requiring absolution 
and confession."' This law was enacted on account of a priest who 
lay down upon a bed with a loose leg in this position, and the leg 
falling down materially injured a priest who was below. 

In taking upon himself the seventh of the ten obligations, the 
priest declares, " I will observe the precept that forbids attendance 
upon dancing, singing, music, and masks." The Brahmans were 
placed under a similar restraint. " Let the student in theology 
abstain from . . . dancing, and from vocal and instrumental music. . . . 
The Brahman must not gain wealth by music or dancing, or by any 
art that pleases the sense. . . . Let him neither dance nor sing, nor 
play upon musical instruments, except in religious rites. . . . Brah- 
mans who profess dancing and singing, let the judge exhort and 
examine as if they were Sudras." — Manu, Inst. ii. 178 ; iv. 15, 212 ; 
viii. 102. That the drama Avas much cultivated in India at an 
early period, we may learn from Wilson's Hindu Theatre and other 
sources. But these exhibitions have ever been condemned by the 
more thoughtful among mankind. Diogenes said that the Olympic 
games were only great wonders to a set of fools. It was decreed by 
the council of Constantinople, held a. d. 681, that no monk should 
be allowed to witness theatrical exhibitions. 

* Patimokkhan. 


By taking the ninth of the ten obligations the priest declares 
that he will forego the use of high or honourable seats, or couches. 
The ancients appear to have been most extravagant in the costli- 
ness of their beds and couches. The prophet Amos (vi. 4) pro- 
nounces woe upon those who " lie upon beds of ivorj% and stretcli 
themselves upon their couches . . . that chant to the sound of the 
viol and invent to themselves instruments of music." Among the 
offerings made to the temple at Delphi by Croesus were a great 
number of couches decorated with gold and silver. We are informed 
by Chrjsostom that the beds of the principal Antiochians were of 
ivory, inlaid with silver and gold. Clemens of Alexandria, in his 
Paedagogue, book ii. cap. 9, condemns the use of beds of carved 
ivory, w'ith silver feet, in imitation of animals or reptiles, and 
upon which are coverlets embroidered with gold. He says that 
silver sofas, and beds of choice woods ornamented with tortoise- 
shell and gold, with coverlets of purple, are to be abandoned ; and 
asks if we shall rest the worse because our beds are not of ivory, or 
our coverlets tinted with Tyrian dyes. 

The priest is not allowed to take even so little as a blade of grass, 
when it is not given ; and if he takes a sandal, or anything of the 
same value, or above that value, he ceases to be a son of Sakya, as 
the withered branch that is severed from the tree ceases to put forth 
the tender bud or to bear iruit. 

He is not allowed knowingly to deprive any animal, though it be 
even so insignificant as an ant, of life ; and if he deprives any human 
being of life, even though it be by the causing of abortion, he ceases 
to be a son of Sakya, as the mountain that has been severed in two 
cannot again be united."^'' 

In the time of Gotama there was a priest who was under the in- 
fluence of passion ; and as he was unable to maintain his purity he 
thought it would be better to die than to continue under this re- 
straint. He therefore threw himself from a precipice near the rock 
Gijakuta ; but it happened that as he came down he fell upon a 
man who had come to the forest to cut bamboos, whom he killed, 
though he did not succeed in taking his own life. From having 
taken the life of another he supposed that he had become parajika, 
or excluded from the priesthood ; but when he informed Budha of 
what had taken place, the sage declared that it was not so, as he 
had killed the man unintentionally ; his intention being to take his 

* Kammaw^chan. 


own life. Budha, however, made a law forbidding the priests to 
commit suicide.* Several stories are related in the Tibetan Dul-va, 
of suicide or poisoning among the priests, or of causing themselves 
to be slain or deprived of life, out of grief or despair, upon hearing 
of the various kinds of miseries or calamities of life. Budha, in 
consequence, prohibited any one from discoursing on these miseries 
in such a manner as thereby to cause desperation. f A similar story 
is related of Hegesias, whose gloomy descriptions of human misery 
were so overpowering, that they drove many persons to commit 
suicide, in consequence of which he received the surname of Peisi- 

In the city of Wesali there was a priest, who one day, on going 
with the alms-bowl, sat down upon a chair that was covered with a 
cloth, by which he killed a child that was underneath. About the 
same time there was a priest who received food mixed with poison 
into his alms-bowl, which he gave to another priest, not knowing 
that it was poisoned, and the priest died. Both of these priests 
went to Budha, and in much sorrow informed him of what had 
taken place. The sage declared, after hearing their story, that the 
priest who gave the poisoned food, though it caused the death of 
another priest, was innocent, because he had done it un-wittingly ; 
but that the priest who sat upon the chair, though it only caused the 
death of a child, was excluded from the priesthood, as he had not 
taken the proper precaution to look under the cloth, and had sat 
down without being invited by the householder. | 

It is said by Budha, in the Brahma Jala Sutra, that there are 
some sages who attend places of amusement, where there are reci- 
tations, masques, and dancing, and combats are exhibited between 
men, animals, or birds ; they also play at various games of chance, 
and practice all kinds of buffoonery ; and they love jesting and 
sports that are childish or vain. They prognosticate the nature of 
future events, and pretend to tell whether they will be prosperous 
or adverse from the voices of animals and birds, as well as from the 
marks upon their bodies, from meteors, the appearance of fire in 
any particular direction, earthquakes, dreams, and the manner in 
which cloth is eaten by rats or insects. They pretend to foretell 
the fate of princes and empires ; they deal in spells, invocations, 
elixirs, and panaceas ; they teach the sciences, and write deeds and 
contracts ; they practise certain ceremonies with fire fed by a par- 

* Milinda Prasna. f Csoma Kiirosi. J Milinda Prasna. 


ticular kind of spoon, and from the manner in which it burns they 
predict the future. But all these practices are disreputable, and are 
to be avoided by the faithful priest.* 

No priest is allowed to make false pretensions to the possession 
of rahatship; and if any priest acts contrary to this precept, he 
ceases to be a son of Sakya ; as the palm-tree cannot continue to 
grow when deprived of the branches that form its head.f 

There are thirty-two subjects upon which the priests are forbidden 
to converse : — about kings, as to their array ; robbers, the royal 
guard, armies, narrations that cause fear, wars, harangues, food, 
drink, garments, vehicles, couches, garlands, perfumes, music, vil- 
lages, as to the pleasantness of their situation or otherwise ; towns, 
cities, provinces, relatives, women, intoxicating liquors, streets, 
khumbandas (imaginary beings of a most disgusting appearance), 
deceased relatives, wealth, the origin of the earth, the origin of the 
sea, the sayings of the sceptics, mental error, sensual enjoyments, 
and their own imaginations.]: 

There are sixty-three charitas, influences, or states of the mind, 
of which the principal are raga, dwesa, and moha. 1. Raga, com- 
placency, pride, or evil desire. 2. Dwesa, anger, of which hatred 
is a component part. 3. Moha, unwiseness, ignorance of the truth. 
The manifestation of these principles is diversified, as seen in the 
conduct of different priests, according to, 1. The position of the 
body. 2. The work that is performed. 3. The manner of eating. 
4. The objects that are seen. 5. The natural disposition or general 

1. The position of the body. The priest who is under the in- 
fluence of the first principle, when he walks puts his foot down 
gently ; both his feet are put down and lifted up in an uniform 
manner, and they are gracefully bent when moved. The priest 
under the influence of the second seems to plough the ground with 
his feet, or to dig it ; he walks hurriedly, and lifts his foot with 
violence. The priest under the influence of the third has no uni- 
formity in his gait ; he puts his foot down as if he were doubtful or 
afraid, and walks as if he were fatigued. This is declared by Budha 
in the Magandhiya Sutra. In like manner, when the first priest 
sits down or reclines, it is done gently ; his feet and hands are put 
in the proper place, and he rises in a quiet manner. The second 
sits down quickly, and rises as if in displeasure. The third throws 

* Wisudhi Margga Samic. f Kammaw&chan. J Pujawaliya. 


himself down in any way, puts his hand and feet in any posture 
that suits his convenience for the moment, and when he rises it is 
as if with rehictance. 

2. The work that is performed. The first priest, when he pre- 
pares to sweep any place, takes hold of the broom in a proper 
manner, neither too firmly nor too loosely, and sweeps evenly. The 
second seizes the broom with violence, sends the dust or sand here 
and there, and sweeps without any uniformity. The third holds 
the broom loosely, throws the dirt away carelessly, and does not 
sweep clean. It is the same with all other things. The first does 
them in the best manner, the second with a bang, and the third 
negligently. The first, as another instance, puts on his robe in 
such a manner that it appears round and full ; the second wraps it 
closely round his body ; and the third puts it on loosely. 

3. The food that is eaten. The first priest likes food of a deli- 
clous flavour ; he makes the rice into neat round balls, and throws 
it into his mouth gently. The second likes sour things, or those 
that are highly seasoned ; he fills his mouth and eats in haste. 
The third has no partiality for any particular kind of food ; he lets 
it fall whilst he is eating, and throws it into his mouth without 

4. The objects that are seen. The first priest, when he sees any 
common thing looks at it as if it was something wonderful ; if it is 
only good in a trifling degree, his attention is arrested ; he looks 
over any faults that there may be, and is loth to leave that which 
pleases him. The second, when he sees anything that is not pleas- 
ing, turns away from it at once. If there be only a trifling fault he 
is angry ; he does not acknowledge the good that there may be, 
and he turns away as if it was unworthy of his regard. The third 
looks at all things without manifesting any emotion ; if anything 
is depreciated he commends it, or if it is praised he commends 
it too. 

5. The general conduct. The first priest does not see his own 
faults ; he boasts to others of things he does not possess ; he is 
deceptive, proud, and covetous ; he likes his bowl, robe, and per- 
son to appear to the best advantage. The second cannot endure 
the faults of another ; he seeks to destroy the good name of other 
priests, envies their prosperity, and goes about to injure their pos- 
sessions. The third goes on without diligence or care ; his mind 


is in doubt ; he is never settled ; he is unwise, without discrimina- 
tion, and does not perceive error. 

"When the priest who is under the influence of the first principle 
enters upon the exercise of the ordinances, it will be an advantage 
to him to reside in some place that has a dirty floor and clay walls, 
or under the shelter of a rock, or in a hut made with straw, or in 
some place that is covered with dust, defiled by birds, broken down, 
very high or very low, and altogether uncomfortable ; there should 
be no good water near it ; the road to it should be infested by wild 
beasts, and in bad order ; such furniture will be good for him as is 
covered with cobwebs and of a disagreeable appearance ; his robe 
should be torn at the end, threadbare, like a net, rough, heavy, and 
therefore difiicult to keep out of the dirt ; his alms-bowl should be 
of dirty clay, or pierced with nails, or of heavy iron, disgusting as a 
skull ; he should go to seek alms where there is a bad road, a great 
distance to go, the houses are far asunder, and the people difficult 
to find ; where the food will be given him by a low slave, and be 
made in a filthy manner, of inferior rice, with bad whey, toddy, or 
rotten fruit ; nor is it well for him to lie down, but to stand or walk 
about ; and his kasina-mandala (a magical circle that will afterwards 
be explained) should be made in some disagreeable form. By this 
means his pride or evil desire will be subdued. 

The priest under the influence of dwesa should reside in a place 
that, on the contrary, is clean, pleasant, and beautiful, and where 
there are plenty of people ; his robe should be made of the cloth of 
China, Sochara, Kosala, or Kasi, or of fine cotton, or of goat's hair, 
light and graceful ; his bowl should be round as the bubble ; the 
village that he visits should neither be too near nor too distant ; nor 
is it good for him to sit or to lie down, but to stand or walk, and 
his kasina-mandala should be made in some agreeable form. By 
this means his anger or hatred will be subdued. 

The priest under the influence of moha should reside in an open 
place, not surrounded by trees ; he should be where there are plenty 
of people ; it is good for him to walk, and his kasina-mandala should 
be the size of the brazen dish called teti ; not smaller. By this 
means his ignorance will be subdued. 

There are three other states: — 1. Sardhaw-a, confidence. 2. 
Bodhi, Avisdom. 3. Witarka, reasoning. The priest who is under 
the influence of the first principle may be known by his being 
always cheerful ; he delights in hearing bana ; he docs not asso- 


ciate with the worldling ; he does not hide his own faults ; and he 
seeks the assistance of the three gems. The priest under the in- 
fluence of the second is kind and tractable ; he eats his food slowly, 
and is thoughtful ; he avoids much sleep, and does not procras- 
tinate ; and he reflects on such subjects as impermanency and 
death. The priest under the influence of the third talks much ; he 
delights in being where there are many people ; his mind is never 
settled ; at night he thinks he will do this or that ; indeed he is 
always thinking ; but he does not try to do in the day what he had 
resolved upon at night, and his thoughts continually pass from one 
subject to another. Such a priest should reside in a place where 
the doors are thrown o^ien ; it is a disadvantage when there are 
people near him, or gardens, tanks, or green hills. It is therefore 
better for him to live in some such place as a cave, or in the midst 
of trees ; his thoughts must be restrained, or he will continually 
reason ; and his kasina-mandala must be small. ^' 

In an inscription, cut about the year 262 in the rock near the 
temple of Mihintala, in Ceylon, the following passages occur : — 
" The resident priests at this wihara shall make it a constant 
practice to rise at the dawn, meditate on the four preservative 
principles, perform the ablution, and then, having attired them- 
selves with the robe, in the manner prescribed in the Sekhiya, they 
shall resort to the -^t wihara, and having there performed the re- 
ligious oflices, afterwards partake of rice-gruel and rice, and shall 
duly administer to the priests who could not attend on account of 
sickness, such things, at their respective cells, as the physicians had 
prescribed. . . . To the expounders of the Abhidharmma pitaka shall 
be assigned twelve cells ; to those who preach from the Sutra pitaka 
seven cells ; and to such of the resident priests as read the Winaya 
pitaka, five cells, with food and raiment. . . . All the lands that 
belong to this wihara shall, with the products thereof, be enjoyed 
by the priesthood in common, and shall not be subdivided and pos- 
sessed separately. . . . When orders are issued to the dej)endants or 
retainers, or when any of them are to be dismissed, it shall be with 
the concurrence of the whole community of priests, and not by the 
will of an individual. . . . Those who have services and offices allotted 
to them shall attend duly at their respective places, excepting those 
who may have gone on Avihara service to a distance ; those who 
have to attend at the place whei'e rice is issued, and at the place 

* Wisudhi Margga Sanne. 


where rice and gruel are prepared in the morning, will not be allowed 
to be absent. ... If the servants attached to the places where offer- 
ings are made embezzle or squander the offerings made thereat, 
laborious work shall be imposed upon tliem. . . . Those who have 
only assumed the yellow robe, but engage in traffic inconsistently 
therewith, and destroy life (by such occupations as the chase) shall 
not be permitted to dwell around the mount. . . . Throughout the 
domains of this wihara, neither palm-trees, nor mee-trees, nor any 
other fruit-bearing trees, shall be felled, even with the consent of 
the tenants. ... If a fault be committed by any of the cultivators, 
the adequate fine shall be assessed according to usage, and, in lieu 
thereof, the delinquents shall be directed to work at the lake, in 
making an excavation not exceeding sixteen cubits in circumference 
and one cubit in depth. If he refuse so to labour, the assessed fine 
shall be levied." *' 

Not long previous to his death, Gotama Budha, in the city of 
Rajagaha, propounded unto Ananda various precepts, in sections of 
seven, which were declared to be imperishable. The first series was 
to the following effect: — The priests were enjoined to meet fre- 
quently (for the performance of religious ordinances), and to assem- 
ble in great numbers ; to rise from these meetings simultaneously, 
and simultaneously and unanimously discharge their sacerdotal 
duties ; to abstain from establishing that which has not been pre- 
scribed, from abrogating that which has been established, and to 
accept the precepts as they are laid down, and inculcate and main- 
tain them ; to support, reverence, respect, and obey the elders of 
the priesthood, of great experience, venerable by their ordina- 
tion, fathers of the community, and chiefs of the sacerdotal body, 
and to learn from them that which ought to be acquired ; to 
overcome the desires that cause the wish for regeneration in ano- 
ther mode of existence ; to delight to dwell in the wilderness, and 
to keep their minds embued with pious aspirations. It is declared 
that, as long as these precepts are observed, the designs of the 
priests must prosper, and cannot fail. 

The priests were enjoined in the second series to abstain from 
excessive indulgence in allowable gratifications ; to abstain from 
unprofitable gossip ; to abstain from an indolent existence ; to avoid 
the omission of meeting together in chapters ; to shim the society 
of evil-doers ; to abstain from becoming the friends of the unwise ; 
and never to relinquish the pursuit of the rahatship. 

* The Ccvlon Almanac, 1834. 


In the Analysis of the Tibetan Kah-gyur, by Csoma Korosi, there 
are allusions to many of the observances of the priesthood, among 
which the following may be enumerated : — The observances are of a 
very comprehensive description, extending not only to moral and cere- 
monial duties, but to modes of personal deportment, and the different 
articles of food or attire. The precepts are interspersed with legen- 
dary accounts, explaining the occasion on which Sakya thought it 
necessary to communicate the instructions given. The order in 
which converts are received into the order of the priesthood, either 
by Sakya or his disciples, is particularized ; two presidents are ap- 
pointed, and five classes of teachers ordained ; the questions to be 
propounded are given, and the description of persons inadmissible 
from bodily imperfections or disease explained ; a variety of rules 
on the subject of admission is laid down; the behaviour of the 
person after admission is regulated ; the cases in which he should 
require the permission of his principal specified, and various moral 
obligations prescribed, particularly resignation and forbearance, 
when maltreated or reviled. No person is to be admitted except in 
full conclave, nor any one allowed to reside among the priests 
without ordination. Confession and expiation should be observed 
every new and full moon, in a public place and congregation, the 
ceremony being fully detailed. There are a number of precepts of 
a whimsical character, such as that a priest shall not wear wooden 
shoes, nor lay hold of a cow's tail in assisting himself to cross a 
river. There is a treatise on the subject of dress, particularly on 
the fitness of leather or hides for the shoes of the priests, and on 
the drugs and medicaments the priests are allowed to use or carry 
about. The priests are permitted to eat treacle, to cook for them- 
selves in time of famine, to cook in ten kinds of places, to eat meat 
under certain restrictions, and to accept gifts from the laity. They 
are to wear not more than three pieces of cloth, of a red colour, to 
wear cotton garments when bathing, to be clean in their dress and 
in their bedding, and never to go naked. Refractory or disputa- 
tious brethren are first to be admonished in the public congregation 
(of the priests), and if impenitent to be expelled from the com- 

* Abstract of the Contents of the Dul-v^i, or first Portion of the K&h-gyiu-, 
from the Analysis of Mr. Alexander Csoma de Koros. By H. H. Wilson, 
Sec. A. S. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, No. 1, Jan. 1832. 



In the commencement of Budhism there \vas an order of female 
recluses. The names they receive are generally equivalent to those 
that are given to the males, with a feminine termination ; but the 
name of priestess is applied to them less properly than that of priest 
to the men. In their case, as well as in that of the other sex, it is 
not an intact virginity that is lauded, but the future abandonment 
of sexual intercourse. 

The first female admitted to profession was Maha Prajapati, the 
foster-mother of Gotama Budha. The wife of the sage, Yasodhara, 
and several other of his principal female relatives, abandoned the 
world at a subsequent period. It was stated upon the admission 
of the queen-mother that there were eight ordinances to which the 
priestesses would be required to attend. " Women are hasty," said 
Gotama ;'^'' " they are given to quarrel, they exercise hatred, and 
are full of evil. If I exalt them to the principal places in this in- 
stitution, they will become more wilful than before ; they will 
despise my priests ; but unto them who act thus there can be no 
benefit from profession ; they cannot attain the paths (that lead to 
nirwana). There must therefore be eight ordinances of restraint, 
that they may be kept in, as the waters of the lake are kept in by 
the embankment. 1. The female recluse, though she be a hundred 
years old, when she sees a samanera novice, though he be only 
eight years old and just received, shall be obliged to rise from her 
seat when she perceives him in the distance ; go towards him, and 
offer him worship. 2. The female recluses shall not be permitted 
to go to any place at their pleasure. When they go to receive in- 
struction, they must retire at the conclusion of the service, and not 
remain in any place beyond their appointed limit. 3. Upon the 
day of every alternate poya festival they must go to the priest and 
request to be instructed. 4. At the end of the performance of wass 
they must join with the priests to conclude the ceremony. 5. Any 
female who wishes to perform the act of meditation called wap may 
be allowed to retire for the purpose during the period of two poyas, 
or fifteen days, but not for a longer time. 6. When any female 
recluse wishes to become upasampada, and receive the superior 
profession, she must previously exercise herself in all things that 

* Pujawaliya. 


are appointed, for the space of two years, and at the end of this 
period must receive the privilege in a chapter composed of the pro- 
fessed of both sexes. 7. The female recluse is not to speak to the 
priest in terms of disparagement or abuse. 8. She must not be 
allowed to teach the priest, but must herself listen to the instruc- 
tion he gives, and obey his commands. These eight ordinances 
are enjoined upon all the female recluses who would receive pro- 
fession in this institute, and are to be observed continually until the 
day of their death." The better sex is not treated with much re- 
spect by Budhist writers. One sentence will be sufficient to show 
this : — Matu gamo namo papo.* " That which is named woman is 
sin ;" i. e. she is not vicious, but vice. Upon another occasion 
Gotama said, " Any woman whatever, if she have a proper oppor- 
tunity, and can do it in secret, and be enticed thereto, will do that 
which is wrong, however ugly the paramour may be ; nay, should 
he be even without hands and without feet." But in order to show 
that this declaration is not true, the king of Sagal, in one of his 
conversations with Nagasena, repeated the instance of a woman, 
Amara, who, though a thousand times solicited by a man whose 
appearance was like that of a king, in a place where there was no 
second person to see what was done, resisted his entreaties, and 
kept herself pure. Nagasena replied, that the declaration of Budha 
was made when relating the crime committed in a former age by 
the queen Kinnara, who secretly stole away from the palace when 
the king slept, and committed sin with a man whose hands and feet 
had been cut off, and who was ugly as a preta sprite. " And think 
you," said the priest, " that if Amara had met with a proper oppor- 
tunity she would not have done the same ? This opportunity was 
not presented ; she was afraid of others, and of the sorrow she must 
have endured in the world to come ; she knew the severity of th0 
punishment she would have to receive for such a sin ; she was un-' 
willing to do anything against the husband whom she loved ; she ; 
respected that which is good and pure ; she abhorred that which is 
mean ; she was a faithful and virtuous wife ; and all these things 
(with many others of a similar kind) took from her the opportunity 
of doing wrong. She might have been seen by men ; if not seen 
by men, she might have been seen by the preta sprites, or by the 
priests who have divine eyes, or by the pretas that know the 

* Gogerly's Essay on Transmigration and Identity. Cevlon Friend, Oct. 


thoughts of others ; or, if unseen by any of these, she could not 
have hid herself from her own sin and its consequences ; and it was 
by these causes she was prevented from doing wrong." This was 
a curious mode of confirming the declaration of Budha ; but it un- 
folds before us the Budhistical motives for resisting sin. 

In the works I have read there are few allusions to the female 
recluses, and it is probable that this part of the system, from being 
found to be connected with so many evils, was gradually discon- 
tinued. The priestesses carried the alms-bowl from door to door, 
in the same manner as the priests, and are represented as being 
present at the meetings of the sangha, or chapter. They could only 
be admitted to the order by a chapter composed entirely of females. 
The convents were in some instances contiguous to the residences 
of the priests ; but the intercourse between members of the two 
orders was guarded by many restrictions. To violate a priestess 
involves expulsion from the priesthood, without the possibility of 

Clemens Alexandrinus, in his account of the eastern ascetics, 
notices the virgins called "Lefivcu. In one of the caves of Ajunta 
there is painted a female worshipper of Budha, in the act of teach- 
ing, surrounded by a group of smaller figures who are attentively 
listening, one of whom is supposed to be a Brahman. There are 
at present no female recluses in Ceylon. It is said by Robert Knox 
that, at the period of his captivity, the ladies of Kandy were accus- 
tomed to beg for Budha. " The greatest ladies of all," he says, 
" do not go themselves, but send their maids, dressed up finely, in 
their stead. These women, taking the image along with them, 
carry it upon the palms of their hands, covered with a piece of white 
cloth ; and so go to men's houses, and will say. We come a begging 
of your charity for the Budha, towards his sacrifice. And the 
people are very liberal ; they give only of three (four ?) things to 
him ; either oil for his lam^i, or rice for his sacrifice, or money, or 
cotton yarn for his use." Occasionally, in more recent times, a 
female has been known to shave her head and put on a white gar- 
ment ; but these instances are rare. 

The priestesses or nuns, in Burma, are called Thilashen : they 
are far less numerous than the priests. The greater part of them 
are old women ; but there are also some that are young, who, how- 
ever, forsake the sisterhood as soon as they can procure husbands. 
The Burman nuns shave the head, and wear a garment of a parti- 


cular form, generally of a white colour. They live in humble dwel- 
lings, close to the monasteries, and make a vow to remain chaste 
so long as they continue in the order ; but they may quit it when- 
ever they please. Any breach of their vow is punished by their 
secular chief. The profession of a nun is not much respected by 
the people, and in general may be looked upon as only a more re- 
spectable mode of begging. They openly ask for alms in the public 
markets, contrary to the custom of the priests, who only " expect 
charity." There are a few recluses of a more respectable class, 
commonly widows, who have funds of their own, or are supported 
by their relatives.*' The nuns in Siam are less numerous than in 

The nuns in Arrakan are said to be equally common with the 
priests : they either reside in convents, or live separately in some 
house constructed near a temple, superintending the offerings, and 
leading a life of religious abstinence. The greater part have re- 
mained in continence from their youth ; others have retired from 
the world at a more advanced age, and in some instances after mar- 
riage ; but only when that marriage has not been productive of 
children. Their dress is similar to that of the priests, and their 
discipline in every other respect alike. The may-thee-laying are 
an inferior order, wearing white dresses, and having their heads 
shaven. They live in convents of their own, and their discipline 
is less severe than that imposed upon the priests, as their know- 
ledge of the doctrines of the faith is less extensive. f 

In China the nuns are said, by Bishop Smith, to be generally 
women of coarse manners and unprepossessing appearance. Their 
dress is very like that of the priests, their heads being entirely 
shaven, and their principal garment consisting of a loose flowing 
robe. An abbess whom he saw wore a black silk cap over her 
crown, in the centre of Avhich was a hole, through which her bare 
head w^as perceptible.]: 

Frequent mention is made by travellers of the worship of the 
Queen of Heaven by the Budhists of China. It appears that her 
name is Tien-how, and that she is equally venerated by Confucians 
and Budhists. According to the legend she was a native of the 
province of Fokien, in early life distinguished for her devotion and 

* Crawford's Embassy to the Coiut of Ava. 

t Foley's Tour through Rambree. Jom-n. As. Soc. Jan. 1835. 

X Smith's China. 


celibacy.* It was in the thirteenth century, under the Soong 
dynasty, that she became deified ; and though her worship is not 
inconsistent with the principles of Eudhism, she was of course un- 
known to its earlier teachers. 

The eight ordinances of restraint enforced by Gotama, as above, 
are enumerated by Remusat as being known to the Chinese, with 
slight variations. f There are also eight sins and eight acts that 
are mentioned by him as demonstrating, when committed, that the 
female recluse has abandoned the precepts of Budha, and deserves 
to be shunned by all. The acts are, to hold the hands of a man 
with an evil intention, to touch his dress, to be with him in a re- 
tired place, to sit with him, to converse with him, to walk with 
him, to lean upon him, and to give him a meeting. 

Among the followers of Pythagoras there was an order of females, 
the charge of which was given to his daughter. The Druids ad- 
mitted females into their sacred order, and initiated them into the 
mysteries of their religion. The priestesses of the Saxon Frigga, 
who were usually king's daughters, devoted themselves to perjoetual 
virginity. At an early period of the church, virginity began to be 
unduly exalted, and in nearly all places there were females who, 
though not recluses, were regarded as possessing a virtue more ex- 
cellent than that which fell to the portion of the other members of 
the Christian politj'. At first admired, they were then looked upon 
as being super-human, and at last as being super- angelic, inasmuch 
as they continued in this state from choice, and were enabled to 
retain their purity by the reception of special grace, whilst the 
angels were chaste from the necessity of their original constitution. 
When in the church they were separated from the rest of the wor- 
shippers by a partition, probably similar to the lattice-work screen 
that is now used to separate the women from the men in the eastern 
churches and the synagogues of the Jews ; and sentences of Scrip- 
ture were painted upon the walls for their instruction. But they 
resided with their relations at home, convents being then unknown ; 
and, from the cautions that were given to them by the fathers, we 
may infer that they were not always willing " to see the stir of the 
great Babel," without sometimes " feeling the crowd." We have 
evidence that their situation, as well as that of other females, re- 
ceived the anxious attention of the rulers of the church, from the 
number of works upon this subject still extant, that were written 
* Davis's Chinese. t Rcmusat's Relation. 

M 2 


at the period preceding the disruption of the Roman empire, when 
the last generations of a mighty nation revelled in the undisturbed 
enjoyment of the luxuries transmitted from their more energetic 
ancestors, and the votaries of pleasure were hurried on towards the 
goal of eternity amidst scenes of revelry that, in the rapidity of their 
succession, the seductiveness of their character, and the magnifi- 
cence of their preparation, will probably have no parallel so long 
as the world shall endure. By Tertullian were written : De Cultu 
Foeminarum ; Ad Uxorem ; De Virginibus Velandis. By Cyprian : 
De Disciplina et Habitu Virginum. By Ambrose : De Virginibus ; 
De Virginis Institutione ; De Hortatione ad Virginitatem ; and, 
doubtful, De Virginis Forma Vivendi ; De Virginis Lapsu. By 
Chrysostom : Quod Regulares Foeminae Viris cohabitare non de- 
bent ; In Eos qui Sorores adoptivas habent ; De Virginitate ; Ad 
Viduam juniorem. By Gregory Nyssen : De Virginitate vera et in- 
corrupta."'-' And these works were in addition to many allusions to 
the same subjects in their letters, homilies, and other writings. 
The " canonical virgins" and " virgins of the church," are recog- 
nized by Tertullian and Cyprian ; and in the fourth century mo- 
nastic establishments for females were introduced. They were 
also called ascetriae, monastriae, castimoniales, sanctimoniales, and 
nonnae. The inmates were not obliged to remain for life in this 
seclusion, and in certain cases were permitted to retract their vows ; 
but they could not return to the world without exposing themselves 
to great scandal. It was said of them (Hieron. Ep. 97) " ut aut 
nubant, si se non possunt continere ; aut contineant, si nolunt 
nubere." Monks or nuns might profess their obedience to a par- 
ticular monastic rule in the hands of an abbot or abbess ; but the 
consecration of a virgin was reserved expressly for the bishop. 
We learn from Ambrose (De Virg. Inst.) that when a virgin was 
professed she presented herself before the altar, when the bishop 
preached to her, and gave her the veil which distinguished her from 
other virgins ; but her hair was not cut off as in the case of monks. 
In many instances the nunnery afforded a secure retreat to the un- 
protected female from the violence of the monsters in human shape 
who then almost every where abounded. 

In some instances, monks and nuns resided in the same convent. 
It is said in Tanner's Notitia Monastica that, after the Conquest, it 
was usual for the great abbies to build nunneries upon some of their 

* Cave's Lives of the Fathers. 


manors, which should be priories to them, and subject to their visi- 
tation. In some instances the nunneries belonged to a different 
order from the house to which they were subject; as at Shouldham, 
where the canons observed the rule of Augustine, whilst the nuns 
were under that of Benedict. Lingard says that, during the first 
two centuries after the conversion of our ancestors, nearly all nun- 
neries were built upon the principle of those attached to Fonte- 
vrault, which contained both monks and nuns under the government 
of an abbess, the men being subject to the women. The abbey of 
St. Hilda, at Whitby, was of this kind. In one part was a sister- 
hood of nuns, and in another a confraternity of monks, both of 
whom obeyed the authority of the abbess. " There were two mo- 
nasteries at Wimborne," says Ralph of Fulda, who wrote the life of 
St. Lioba, " formerly erected by the kings of the country, sur- 
rounded with strong and lofty walls, and endowed with competent 
revenues. Of those, one was designed for clerks, the other for 
females ; but neither (for such was the law of their foundation) was 
ever entered by any individual of the other sex. No woman could 
obtain permission to come into the monastery of the men ; nor could 
the men come into the convent of the women, with the exception of 
the priests who entered to celebrate mass, and withdrew the mo- 
ment the service was over.""' The princess Bridget, of Sweden, 
built a monastery in which she placed sixty nuns, and, in a sepa- 
rate enclosure, thirteen priests, four deacons, and eight lay-brothers. 
The men were subject to the prioress in temporals ; but in spiri- 
tuals the women were under the jurisdiction of the friars, as the 
order was instituted principally for the women, and the m.en were 
only admitted to render them spiritual assistance. The convents 
were separated by an enclosure ; but so near, that both classes made 
use of the same church, in which the nuns kejit choir above in a 
doxal, and the men underneath, without their being able to see each 
other. Sion House, near London, was the only monastery of this 
order in England. f 

In Italy there are orders, as of the Collatines, or Oblates, the 
members of which reside in a monastery, but make no vows except 
a promise of obedience. They can go abroad, inherit property, and 
the restrictions under Avhich they arc placed are few. Some abbies 
of this description are said to be filled by ladies of rank. 

* Lingai-d's Anglo-Saxon Church, 
t Alban Butler. Oct. 8. 



The Budhas, the sacred books, and the priesthood, are regarded 
as the three most precious gems. They are all associated in the 
threefold formulary repeated by the Budhist when he names, as an 
act of worship, the triad to which he looks as the object of his con- 
fidence and his refuge. There is thus among the Budhists the 
same reverence paid to the number three, that we witness in nearly 
all ancient systems, as in the Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva of the 
Brahmans ; the Amoun-ra, Amoun-neu, and Sevek-ra of the 
Egyptians ; and the Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto of the Greeks 
and Romans. 

The importance of the possession of a written code, regarded as 
having been given by inspiration, may be seen in the fact that no 
system of religion has yet become extinct that has presented a 
record of this description. However absurd the document may 
be in itself, or however unintelligible the style in which it is writ- 
ten, it has appeared as the palladium of the system it contains. 
Hence the missionaries to the east have a difficulty to contend with 
that was not presented to the early messengers of the cross in any 
of the countries where they principally laboured. But from the 
same cause the priests of India are encumbered by weapons that 
maybe wrested from their hands, and used to their own destruction. 
When it is clearly proved to them that their venerated records con- 
tain absurdities and contradictions, they must of necessity conclude 
that their origin cannot have been divine ; and the foundation of 
the systems being once shaken, the whole mass must speedily fall, 
leaving only the unsightly ruin, as a monument of man's folly, when 
he endeavours to form a religion from the feculence of his own cor- 
rupt heart, or the fancies of his own perverted imagination. And 
there is another thought that must not be forgotten. Whenever 
the Scriptures have been translated into any language, from that 
time there have always been individuals speaking that language 
who have believed in the truths they contain, so long as the dialect 
has continued in use as a vernacular medium of intercourse. 

In our notice of the sacred books of the Budhists we propose to 
consider : — 1. Their names and divisions. 2. The history of their 
transmission. 3. The honours they receive and the benefits they 
confer in return. 

I. Names and Divisions. — The second of the three great treasures 


is called Dhammo, or in Singhalese, Dharmma. This word has 
various meanings, but is here to be understood in the sense of 
truth. It is not unfrequently translated " the law," but this interpre- 
tation gives an idea contrary to the entire genius of Budhism. The 

'(iDharmma is therefore emphatically, the truth. In common conver- 
sation this venerated compilation is called the Bana ; the books in 
which it is written are called bana-pot ; and the erection in which 
it is preached or explained is called the bana-maduwa. The word 
bana means literally the word ; from the root bana, or wana, to 
sound. In the names that have been given by different religionists 
to their sacred books there is a considerable similarity of meaning, 
which is generally marked by simplicity. Thus, we have the Scrip- 
tures, or the writings ; the law, torah, from the root torah, instruc 
tion ; the Talmud, from the root lamad, to learn ; the Gemara, from 
a root of similar meaning, gamar, to learn ; the Mishna, from the 
root shamah, to repeat ; the Koran, from the root karaa, to read ; 
the Zand Avasta, from zand, the Persian language, and avasta, 
word ; and the Veda, from vida, to know. The different portions 
of the Dharmma, when collected together, were divided into two 
principal classes, called Suttani and Abhidhammani. These two 
classes are again divided into three collections, called respectively 
v;\in Singhalese : — 1. Winaya, or discipline. 2. Sutra, or discourses. 

\\S. Abhidharmma, or pre- eminent truths. The three collections, as 

'already intimated (page 1), are called in Pali, Pitakattayan, from pita- 
kan, a chest or basket, and tayo, three ; or in Singhalese, Tunpitaka. 
A Glossary and a Commentary on the whole of the Pitakas were 
written by Budhagosha, about the year A. D. 420. They are 
called in Pali, Atthakatha, or in Singhalese, Atuwaw^a. The Rev. 
D. J. Gogcrly has in his possession a copy of the whole of the 
sacred text, " and the principal of the ancient cgmments, which, 
however, form but a small portion of the comments that may exist." 
As this gentleman resided in 1835, and some subsequent years, at 
Dondra, near which place the most learned of the priests in the 
maritime provinces in Ceylon are found, he had admirable facilities 
for securing a correct copy of the Pitakas. Mr. Tumour states 
that the Pali version of the three Pitakas consists of about 4,500 
leaves, which w^ould constitute seven or eight volumes of the ordi- 
nary size, though the various sections are bound up in different 
forms for the convenience of reference. 

1 \ 1 . The Winaya Pitaka contains the regulations of the priesthood. 


It is said to be the life of the religion of Budha, as where discijillne 
is at an end, religion is at an end. It is divided into five books : — 
1. Parajika. 2. Pachiti. 3. Maha Waggo, or Maha Waga. 4. 
Chula Waggo, or Chula Waga. 5. Pariwara Pata. " The Para- 
jika and Pachiti contain the criminal code ; the Maha Waggo and 
Chula Waggo the ecclesiastical and civil code ; and the Pariwara 
Pata is a recapitulation and elucidation of the preceding books, in a 
kind of catechetical form." 

This Pitaka contains 169 banawaras, which appear to resemble 
the sidarim into which the books of the Old Testament were divided 
by the Jews, being the portion read in the synagogue upon one 
Sabbath day. The first sixty-four banawaras constitute the Bhik- 
khuni-wibhango ; the next eighty, the Maha Waggo ; and the last 
twenty-five, the Pariwara Pata. As each banawara contains 250 
stanzas, called gathas or granthas, composed of four padas, or 
thirty-two syllables, in this Pitaka there must be 42,250 stanzas. 
The Commentary on it, called Samantapasadika, contains 27,000 
stanzas. Thus, in the whole of the Winaya Pitaka, including the 
text and the comment, there are 69,250 stanzas. 

The Parajika occupies 191 leaves; the Pachiti 154; the Maha 
Waggo 199 ; the Chula Waggo 196 ; and the Pariwara Pata 146 ; 
each page containing about nine lines, and averaging 1 foot 9 
inches in length. 

2. The Sutra Pitaka contains seven sections. It is said in the 
commentary called Sumangala Wilasini, as translated by Turnour, 
that the Suttan is so called " from its precise definition of right ; 
from its exquisite tenor, from its collective excellence, as well as 
from its overflowing richness ; from its protecting (the good), and 
from its dividing as with a line (or thread)." For each of these 
epithets various reasons are given. It is said to overflow, " because 
it is like unto the milk streaming from the cow." It is like a line, 
" because as the line (suttan) is a mark of definition to carpenters, 
so is this suttan a rule of conduct to the wise." In the same way 
that flowers strung together upon a thread, or line, are neither 
scattered nor lost, " so are the precepts which are contained herein 
united by this (suttan) line." The seven sections, called sangis, 
are as follows: — 1. The Dighanikayo, or Dik-sangi, written upon 
292 leaves, with eight lines on each page, and 1 foot 10 inches 
long. It contains three warggas, Silaskhanda, Maha, and Pati, and 
has 64 banawaras, or 16,000 stanzas, including 34 sutras of greater 


length (digha, long) than the rest, the first being the Brahmajala- 
sutra. 2. The Majjhima-nikayo, or Mcdum-sangi, written upon 
432 leaves, with eight and nine lines on each page, and 1 foot 1 1 
inches long. It contains three pannasas, Mula, Majjhima, and 
Upari, and has 15 warggas, including 80 banawaras, 152 sutras, 
of moderate (majjhima, middle) length, and 21,250 stanzas. 3. 
The Sanyutta-nikayo, or Sanyut-sangi, written upon 351 leaves, 
with eight and nine lines on each page, and 2 feet 2 inches long. 
It contains five warggas, Sata, Nidhana, Skhanda, Salayatana, and 
Maha. It has 100 banawaras, 7,762 sutras, classed (sanyutta) 
under different heads, and 25,000 stanzas. 4. The Anguttara- 
nikayo, or Angotra-sangi, written upon 654 leaves, with eight or 
nine lines on each page, and 1 foot 10 inches long. It has six 
nipatas, Tika, Chatuska, Panchaka, Chasattaka, Atthanawaka, and 
Dasa-ekadasa ; and it has also 120 banawaras, 9,557 sutras, in 
different classes (anga, members), and 44,250 stanzas. 5. The 
Khudaka-nikayo, or Khudugot-sangi, contains 15 books, some of 
which are in the form of sermons, and has 44,250 stanzas : — (1.) The 
Khudapatan, written upon four leaves, with eight lines on each 
page, and 2 feet 4 inches long. (2.) The Dhammapadan, or Dam- 
piyawa, the Paths of Religion, written upon 15 leaves, with nine 
lines on each page, and 1 foot 8 inches long. It contains 423 
gathas, which appear to have been spoken on various occasions, 
and afterwards collected into one volume. Several of the chapters 
have been translated by Mr. Gogerly, and appear in the Friend, 
vol. iv. 1840. The Singhalese paraphrase of the Paths, is regarded 
by the people as one of their most excellent works, as it treats upon 
\1 moral subjects, delivered for the most part in aphorisms, the mode 
■ of instruction that is most popv^lar among all nations that have few 
books at their command, and have to trust in a great degree to 
memory for their stores of knowledge. A collection might be 
made from the precepts of this work, that in the purity of its ethics 
could scarcely be equalled from any other heathen author. (3.) The 
Udanan, written upon 48 leaves, with nine lines on each page, and 
3 feet long. It contains compilations from other parts of Budha's 
discourses. (4.) The Itti-attakan, written upon 31 leaves, with 
eight lines on each page, and 1 foot 9 inches long. (5.) The Sutta- 
nipatan, written upon 40 leaves, with nine lines on each page, and 
2 feet long. (6.) The Wimana-watthu, written upon 158 leaves, 
with seven and eight lines on each page, and 1 foot 9 inches long. 
(7.) The Peta-watthu, written upon 142 leaves, with eight and nine 


lines on each page, and 1 foot 8 inches long. (8.) The Thera-gatha, 
written upon 43 leaves, with nine lines on each page, and 2 feet 4 
inches long, contains instructions to the priests. (9.) The Theri- 
gatha, written upon 110 leaves, with eight lines on each page, and 

I foot 7 inches long, contains instructions to the priestesses. (10.) 
The Jatakan, containing an accoimt of 550 births of the Bodhisat 
who afterwards became Gotama Budha. The text and commentary- 
are blended into one narrative, in which form it is written upon 900 
leaves. (H-) The Niddeso (of the size of which I have not met 
with any account). (12.) The Pathisambhidan, or Pratisambhidawa^ 
written upon 220 leaves, with eight lines on each page, and 1 foot 

II inches long. (13.) The Apadanan, written upon 196 leaves, with 
ten lines on each page, and 2 feet long. (14.) The Budha-wanso, 
written upon 37 leaves, with eight lines on each page, and 2 feet 
long. (15.) The Chariya-pitako, written upon 10 leaves, with eight 
lines on each page, and 3 feet long. 

It is said in the Sadharmmalankare that the whole of the five 
sangis contain 142,250 stanzas ; but this does not agree with the 
separate numbers as stated in the same work. The commentary 
contains 254,250 stanzas. Hence the whole of the Sutra-pitaka, 
including both the text and commentary, contains 396,500 stanzas. 

3. The Abhidharmma-pitaka was addressed by Budha to the 
dewas and brahmas. " The books are not in the form of sermons, 
but specify terms and doctrines with them, with definitions and ex- 
planations." It contains seven sections. 1. The Dhammasangani, 
written upon 72 leaves. 2. The Wibhanga, written upon 130 
leaves. 3. The Katha-watthu, written upon 151 leaves. 4. The 
Puggalan, or Pudgala-pragnyapti, written upon 28 leaves. 5. The 
Dhatu, written upon 31 leaves. 6. The Yamakan written upon 
131 leaves. 7. The Patthanan, written upon 170 leaves. The 
whole of these leaves are 2 feet 4 inches long, and average about 
nine lines on each page. 

The text contains 96,250 stanzas, and in the commentaries 
Arthasaliniya, Sammowinodana, and Sattaka, there are 30,000; so 
that in the whole of the Abhidharmma-pitaka, including both the 
text and commentary, there are 126,250 stanzas,* 

* For the names of the books, their divisions and their size, I am indebted 
to Turnour, and for the character of their contents to Gogerly, see Tumour's 
Mahawanso ; Timiour's Examination of the Pali Budhistical Amials, Joiu-nal 
Bengal As. Soc. July 1837 ; Gogerly's Essay on Budliism, Jom-nal Ceylon 
Branch Royal As. Soc. vol. I. part i. The other parts of the information 
contained in this section are taken fiom the Smghalese Sadharnunalankarc, 


From the above statements it will be seen that whilst the com- 
mentary on the Winaya and Abhidharmma Pitakas is smaller, that 
on the Sutra Pitaka is much larger, than the text. 

The Atthakatha, Atuwawas, or commentaries, as well as the text 
of the Pitakas, were defined and authenticated at a convocation (to 
the history of which we shall presently refer), and repeated at a 
j second and third, without any alteration, except that an account of 
,' the previous convocations was added. When Mahindo, son of the 
/ monarch Asoka, introduced the religion of Budha into Ceylon, he 
carried thither in his memory the whole of the commentaries, and 
translated them into Singhalese. By Budhagosha, about a.d. 420, 
they were again translated from Singhalese into Pali ; and it is this 
version alone that is now in existence, the original Pali version and 
the translation into Singhalese having alike perished. These com- 
mentaries are therefore more recent than the text ; and from the 
slight opportunities I have had of ascertaining their contents, I 
should infer that they abound much more with details of miraculous 
interposition than the Pitakas that they profess to explain. It is 
said in the Mahawanso, cap. xxxvii, that " all the theros and acha- 
riyos (preceptors) held this compilation in the same estimation as 
the original text." Not long ago, this was also acknowledged by 
the priesthood of Ceylon ; but when the manifest errors with which 
it abounds were brought to their notice, they retreated from this 
position, and now assert that it is only the express words of Budha 
that they receive as undoubted truth. There is a stanza to this 
effect, that the words of the priesthood are good ; those of the 
rahats are better ; but those of the all-knowing are the best of all. 
We learn from Colebrooke, that " it is a received and well-grounded 
opinion of the learned in India, that no book is altogether safe from 
changes and interpolations until it has been commented ; but when 
once a gloss has been published, no fabrication could afterwards 
succeed ; because the perpetual commentary notices every passage, 
and in general explains every word."* 

1. All the discourses of Budha are saidf to be one, as to sang- 
wara, observance, and they arc also one as to rasa, design. From 
the moment that Gotama obtained the state of a supreme Budha to 
the time of his dissolution, i. e. during an interval of forty-five 
years, in all that he uttered, to whatever order of intelligence, he 

* Miscellaneous Essays, i. 90. t Sadharmm-dlankare, &c. 


,had only one design, which was, to assist sentient heings in the 
reception of nirwana. 2. The discourses of Budha were two-fold, 
as to the classes called Dharmma and AVinaya. 3. They were 
three-fold, as to their division into root, centre, and summit ; and 
as to first, middle, and last ; and also as to the pitakas, Winaya, 
Sutra, and Abhidharmma. 4. They were five-fold, as to the 
nikayas, Dik, Madyama, Sanyut, Angottara, and Kudugot. 5. 
They were nine-fold, as to the angas, Suttan, Geyyan, Weyyakaran, 
Gatha, Udanan, Itiwuttakan, Jatakan, Abbhuta-dhammo, and the 
Wedattan.*'" The Suttan includes the sutras ; the Geyyan includes 
the sutras that are partly in prose and partly in metrical stanza ; 
the Weyyakaran includes the whole of the Abhidharmma, the 
prose sutras, and the words of Budha that are not included in any 
of the other angas ; the Udanan includes the 82 sutras delivered by 
Budha in the form of stanzas expressive of joy or satisfaction ; the 
Itiwuttakan includes the 110 sutras commencing with this formula. 
It was thus said by Bhagawat ; the Jatakan includes the 550 
births of Gotama Bodhisat; the Abbhuta-dhammo includes the 
sutras that detail supernatural events, and begin with the word 
"priest!" and the Wedattan includes the sutras that by their 
utterance conferred the wisdom (of the paths) upon those who 
listened. 6. The discourses of Budha are divided into 84,000, as 
to the separate addresses. This division includes all that was 
spoken by Budha. " I received from Budha," said Ananda, 
" 82,000 khandas, and from the priests 2,000 ; these are the 84,000 
khandas maintained by me." 7. They are divided into 275,250, 
as to the stanzas of the original text, and into 361,550, as to the 
stanzas of the commentary. All the discourses, including both 
those of Budha and those of the commentator, are divided into 
2,547 banawaras, containing 737,000 stanzas, and 29,368.000 
separate letters. 8. They are asankya as to the matters upon 
which they treat. 

* The Nepaulese have a similar division, with, the addition of three names 
that are not found in this arrangement. " The Bauddha scriptm-es are of 
twelve kinds, known by the following twelve names: 1. Siitra. 2. Gcya. 
3. Vyakarana. 4. Gatha. 5. Udan. 6. Nidan. 7. Ityukta. 8. Jataka. 
9. Vaipulya. 10. Adbhuta Dharma. 11. Avadan. 12. Upadesa." The 
Upadesa appears to be an unauthorised addition, from a Brahmanical source, 
as it is said to treat of " the esoteric doctrines equivalent to tantra, the rites 
and ceremonies being almost identical with those of the Hindoo tantras, but 
the chief objects of worship, diS'erent, though many of the iiiferior ones are 
the same." — Hodgson's Illustrations. 


II. History and Transmission. — Tlie system propounded by G6- 
tama Budha was not committed to writing either by himself or his U 
immediate disciples. It is asserted that his discourses were pre- |\ 
served in the memory of his followers during the space of 450 years, 
and that after the elapse of this period they were reduced to writing 
in the island of Ceylon. The documents themselves are an evidence 
that some considerable period must have passed over between the 
death of Budha and the compilation of the Pitakas in their present 
form. They contain the record of numerous events that can never 
possibly have happened ; and it would require a length of time to 
elapse before simple facts could be distorted into fictions so palpably 
absurd, in those cases in which the account is founded in truth ; 
and a period equally long would be required before the legends 
they contain could be invented, or when invented become generally 
received ; as they abound in the grave recital of miraculous events 
and supernatural interferences, that any inhabitant of the earth 
would have known to be false, if published near the life-time of 
Budha. Four hundred years Avould be a sufficient period to allow 
of these perversions ; and as the Pali language, the dialect in which 
the Pitakas are composed, has long ceased to be spoken, we may 
conclude that it could not have been at a much later era the sacred 
books were written. 

For the establishment of the text of the Pitakas, it is said that 
/three several convocations were held. The first was at Rajagaha, 
[ at that time the capital of Magadha, in the eighth year of Ajasat, 
sixty-one days after the death of Budha, or b.c. 543. The whole 
of the text of the Pitakas was then rehearsed, every syllable being 
repeated with the utmost precision, and an authentic version esta- 
blished, though not committed to writing. As the whole of the 
persons who composed this assembly were rahats, and had therefore 
attained to a state in which it was not possible for them to err on 
any matter connected with religion, all that they declared was the 
truth ; every doctrine was correctly delivered, and in the repetition 
of the words of Budha, and of the other interlocutors, the ipsissima 
verba were faithfully declared. The rahats did not possess inspira- 
tion, if we consider this power to mean a supernatural assistance 
imparted ab extra ; but they had within themselves the possession 
of a power by which all objective truth could be presented to their 
intellectual vision. They therefore partook of what in other systems 
would be regarded as divinity. The second convocation was held y 


at Wesali, at that time the capital of Kalasoka, in the tenth year of 
his reign, one hundred years after the death of Budha, or B.C. 443, 
in consequence of the prevalence of certain usages among the 
priesthood that were contrary to the teachings of Budha. The text 
of the Pitakas was again rehearsed, without any variation whatever 
from the version established by the former convocation. The third | 
convocation was held at Pataliputra, near the modern Patna, in the.l 
seventeenth year of Asoka, 235 years after the death of Budha, orfj 
B.C. 308. The Pitakas were again rehearsed, without either re- 
trenchment or addition.* The history of the first of these convoca- 
tions is thus recorded in the Singhalese Sadharmmalankare.f 

Whilst Gotama was yet in existence, he appointed Maha Kas- 
yapa to be the chief or president of his disciples; and to him 
he committed the care of his religion when he should have attained 
nirwana.:]: Accordingly, after the demise of Budha it was arranged 
that a convocation should be held, to be attended by 500 of the 
most eminent of the rahats, with Maha Kasyapa at their head. On 
the twenty-first day after the death of the great sage, the priests 
who had been present at the burning of his body, went away to 
their separate places of abode ; and the sacred edifices that were 
out of repair were put in proper order.§ By degrees the 500 rahats 
arrived at Kajagaha (the place that had been appointed for their 
assembly), after passing through the intermediate villages and 

* In the Tibetan division of the Kah-gyiur the second convocation is 
omitted ; the thii-d convocation is placed in the 110th year after the death of 
Gotama ; and the last revision of the Pitakas is said to have taken place only 
500, instead of nearly 1000, years after his death. But it is possible that this 
reference may be to some revision unknown in Ceylon, and not to that of 
Budhagosha. Journ. Bengal As. Soc. July, 1837. 

t An accoimt of these convocations, translated from the Pali commentary 
on the Pitakas, by the Hon. G. Tiunom-, appears in the Jomuial of the Bengal 
Asiatic Society for July and September, 1837. 

J On a certain occasion Shakya sent the half of liis sittmg couch, or pillow, 
to Mahakashyapa, one of his principal disciples, to sit on with him, by Avhich 
act he tacitly appomted liim his successor as an hierarch after his death. 
Csoma Korosi. But in the Pali commentary it is said that Gotama appomted 
Kasyapa as his successor, by mvestuig him with his o■^^^l robe. 

§ It is stated in the commentary that the priests were afraid lest the 
tirttakas should say, "The pupils of Gotama kept up their wiharas^whilst 
their teacher was alive ; on his death they have abandoned them." The 
priests are also said to have set themselves to the reparation of the sacred 
edifices that they might prevent their enemies from reproaching them by 
saying, " The enormous wealth bestowed by the great (in foimding the struc- 
tures) is lost." But if there be any truth at all in the matter, it is probable 
that the priests hastened home to seciu-e their temples, and thus prevent them 
from being appropriated by other teachers or religionists. 


towns. One of their first acts was to request a suitable place for 
the holding of the convocation from the monarch of that city, 
Ajasat, now in the eighth year of his reign, who appointed for this 
purpose the cave Saptaparnni, near the rock Webhara. This cave 
was painted in a beautiful manner, representations of various kinds 
of flowers and creepers appearing upon its sides, whilst many parts 
were inlaid with gold, silver, and gems. The floor was sprinkled 
with perfumes, and curtains of many colours were hung around. 
There were 500 seats covered with cloth for the priests ; and in the 
centre, looking towards the east, a throne for the person who recited 
the bana, with an ivory fan placed near it. Around the cave were 
seven circles of guards of different kinds, some of whom were giants, 
and others were mounted upon horses or elephants. Wlien the 
whole had been prepared, Ajasat informed the priests, who, as soon 
as they learnt that the cave was ready, went to the place and took 
possession of the seats that had been appointed for them. There 
were 499 rahats, with Maha Kasyapa as their chief. It was 
observed that one seat was empty, and on enquiry it was found that 
it belonged to Ananda. Then Ananda, who only at this moment 
attained rahatship, to show the reality of its reception, arose up out 
of the groimd in their midst, and took his appointed seat, the one 
that had hitherto been vacant. Upon this Maha Kasyapa, who by 
this token perceived that he had become a rahat, said that if Budha 
had been alive he would have said Sadhu on account of so great a 
wonder, and that it was therefore proper for them to do the same : 
so the whole assembly three times pronounced, Sadhu. 

As the convocation was now complete, Maha Kasyapa said, 
" Which shall we repeat first, the Winaya, or the Abhidharmma ?" 
The priests replied, " The Winaya is the life of Budhism ; if this is 
properly defined, our religion will continue to exist ; therefore 
let us first define the Winaya Pitaka." The president enquired, 
"Whom shall we appoint as the principal person to repeat and 
define this Pitaka?" "When Budha was alive," said the priests, 
"he declared that Upali was most perfectly acquainted with the 
Winaya, and that no one had a clearer understanding of the divine 
words than he; therefore let it be Upali." Accordingly, Upali 
having received permission, rose from his seat, did obeisance to the 
assembly, and ascended the throne in the midst of the hall, when 
he took the ivory fan into his hand, and remained with his face 


towards the east. Maha Kasyapa then enquired,-'' " What is the 
first section of the Winaya ? When was it spoken ? On whose 
behalf ? On account of what transgression ?" " The first section," 
said Upali, " was spoken by Budha in Wesali, on account of Sudinna, 
who had transgressed the precept of chastity." In the same way 
the investigation was carried on respecting all the other sections of 
the Winaya ; and the cause, the person, the fault, the rule or ordi- 
nance established in consequence, and the additional rule, were 
declared.! The enquiry was in all cases made by Maha Kasyapa, 
and answered by Upali, who repeated all things to the convocation 
in a full and perfect manner, so that not a single letter, or the least 
particle, of the Winaya Pitaka, was lost. When the whole was 
concluded, Upali again did obeisance to the assembly, and retired 
to his own seat. 

As the Winaya was thus completed, Maha Kasyapa enquired who 
was to rehearse the Sutra Pitaka ; and the assembly replied that it 
must be Ananda, as his competency for the task had been pro- 
claimed by Budha. When permission had been given, Ananda 
ascended the throne, and declared in order the place where, on 
whose account, and for what cause, the various sutras were deli- 
vered. The first sutra is the Brahmajala ; it was delivered in the 
garden of Ambalattika, between Rajagaha and Nalanda, on account 
of Brahmadatta, a manawaka, and Suppriya, a paribrajika, who had 
a dispute with each other relative to the merits of Gotama. At 
the commencement of Ananda's discourse, the dewas who were 
present began to say to each other, " The most excellent Ananda is 
of the Sakya race ; he is a relative of Gotama ; Gotama, when he 
was alive, proclaimed his pre-eminence ; and it may be that he 
also has become a supreme Budha." But as Ananda perceived the 
thoughts of the dewas, he made known to them his real position ; 
and when they heard him say of the sutras he repeated that they 
were spoken by Gotama in Jetawanna, or in some other locality, as 
the case might be, and that he only declared what he himself had 
heard, they knew from this that he was not a supreme Budha, as 
they had at first supposed. Nevertheless, when the whole had 
been rehearsed, the priests and dewas did him great honour. 

* The Pm-anas are invariably written in the form of a dialogue, in which 
some person relates its contents, in answer to the enquiries of another. 

t The subjects are thus enumerated by Turnour : the origin, the party con- 
cerned, the exhortation made, the sequel or application of the exhortation, 
and the result as to the conviction or the acquittal. 


The Dik-sangi was delivered in charge to Ananda, that by him 
it might be preserved ; the Medum-sangi, to a disciple of Serlyut ; 
the Sanyut-sangi, to Maha Kasypa and bis disciples ; and the 
Angotra-sangi, to Anurudha and his disciples. 

The Abbidharmma was recited by Maha Kasyapa, all the rest of 
the assembled rabats repeating simultaneously the words that he 

In the establishment of this important matter, the canon of the 
sacred code, seven months were occupied; after which the convoca- 
tion was dissolved. As five hundred priests were present, it is called 
the Pancha Sataka Sangha, or the Convocation of the Five Hundred.'^' 

The interest connected with the second convocation being chiefly 
historical in its character, I omit the account of its proceedings ; but 
as the reign of Asoka, in which the third convocation was held, is 
regarded by the Budhists as the proudest era in their annals, and 
the monarch himself was a religious devotee of considerable emi- 
nence, we are not permitted to treat the great council held under 
his auspices in the same summary manner. The native historians 
have described his reign in colours of the most exaggerated bril- 
liance ; but this is in consistence with their general manner : they 
cover their sky with rainbows, or stud it with suns instead of 

In the 219th year after the demise of Gotama Budha, Piyadasa, 
son of Bindusara, and grandson of Chandragutta,f became the sole 

* It is also called Patima Sanghiti, or the First Convocation, and Therik&, 
because it was held exclusively by tliero priests. 

t "This," it is said by Professor Wilson, in his valuable Notes to the 
Vishnu Purana, "is the most important name in all the lists, as it can 
scarcely be doubted that he is the Sandrocottus, or as Athenaeus writes more 
correctly, the Sandrocoptus, of the Greeks. The relative positions of Chan- 
dragupta, Vidmisara or Bimbisara, and Ajtasatru, serve to confinn the iden- 
tification. Sakya was cotemporary with both the latter, dying in the eighth 
year of Ajatasatru's reign. The Mahawanso says he reigned twenty-fom- 
years afterwards; but the Yayu makes his whole reign but twenty-five 
years, which would place the close of it b.c. 526. The rest of the Saisimaga 
dynasty, accordmg to the Vayu and Matsya, reigned 143 or 140 years; 
bringing their close to b. c. 383. Another century being de(hicted for the 
dmation of tlie Nandas, woidd place the accession of Chandi-agupta b. c. 283. 
Chandragupta was the cotemporary of Seleucus Nicator, who began his reign 
B. c. 310, and concluded a treaty ■\^'ith him b. c. 305. Although therefore the 
date may not be made out quite correctly from the Pamiinik premises, yet 
the error cannot be more than twenty or thirty years. The residt is much 
nearer the truth than that furnished by Buddhist authorities. According to 
the Mahawanso 100 years had elapsed from the death of Buddha to the tenth 
year of Kalasoko. lie reigned other ten years, and his sons forty-four, 
making a total of 154 years between the death of Sakya and the accession of 
Chandragupta, which is consequently placed b. c. 3S9, or about seventy years 



monarch of Jambudwipa. Previous to this, whilst he reigned in 
Udeni he had a son, Mahindo, and a daughter, Sanghamitta, both 
of them extremely beautiful ; and as he daily increased in wealth and 
majesty, and was successful in all his engagements, he was called, 
in consequence, Asoka (literally, the sorrowless). Riches, pleasures, 
and honours, he possessed in the greatest abundance ; but at this 
period he practised many cruelties, and his name was in conse- 
quence again changed to Chandasoka (the word chanda meaning 
-wrathful, passionate). The dewas brought him daily from the 
Anotatta lake"^' sixteen vessels of water ; also various kinds of 
medicines, supplies of beetle creepers to make splinters for cleaning 
the teeth, the richest mangos and other fruits, garments of five 
colours from the magical (kalpa) tree near the Chaddanta lake, 
napkins upon which to wipe the fingers, and the cloth called Utra, 
resembling the jasmine. He had also fragrant substances where- 
with to anoint the body, and collyrium from the naga-loka. Parrots 
brought daily 9000 yalas of the rice that grows spontaneously upon 
the borders of the Chaddanta lake, and it was freed from the husk 
by mice, that in the process broke not a single grain ; bees brought 
honey, which they prepared and left, without taking any for them- 
selves ; bears worked in the forges with sledge-hammers ; tigers 
guarded his cattle, and, until the herds were secured for the night, 
Avent not to seek their prey; birds of sweet song perched near the 
palace, and delighted the king with their music ; and pea-fowl 
danced in his presence, exhibiting their splendid plumage. 

too early. According to the BudcUiist authorities, Chan-ta-kutta or Chan- 
dragupta commenced his reign 396 b. c. Burmese Table ; Prinsep's Useful 
Tables. Mr. Turnoiu-, in his Introduction, giving to Kalasoko eighteen years 
subsequent to the centmy after Budha, places Chandi-agupta's accession e. c. 
381, which, he observes, is sixty years too soon ; dating, however, the acces- 
sion of Chanclragupta from 323 b. c. or immediately upon Alexander's death, 
a period too early by eight or ten years at least. The discrepancy of dates, 
Mr. Turnour is disposed to think, proceeds from some intentional perversion 
of the Buddhistical chronology. Introd. p. l. The commentator on oiu- text 
says that Chandragupta was the son of Nanda by a wife named Mui-a, whence 
he and his descendants were called Mauryas. Col. Tod considers Maurya a 
corruption of Moi-i, the name of a Bajput tribe. The Tik&. on the IMahawanso 
builds a story on the fancied resemblance of the word to Mayura S. Mori, 
Pr. a peacock. There being abundance of pea-fowl in the place where the 
Sakya tribe built a town, they called it Mori, and their princes were thence 
called Mauryas. Turnom-, Introduction to the Mahawanso, p. xxxix. Chan- 
dragupta reigned, according to the Vayu Purana, twenty-four years ; accord- 
ing to the Mahawanso, thirty-four ; to the Dipawanso, twenty-foui-." — 
"Wilson's Vishnu Piuana, p. 468. 

* It was not unusual for kings to have their water brought from a great 
distance. Cyrus drank no M-ater but that of the Choaspes, of which he car- 
ried with him a supply in vessels drawn by mules. — Herod. 1. 141. 


Like his father and grandfather, Asoka gave alms daily to 60,000 
tirttakas in his palace. One day he observed from an upper story that 
in eating their food they made a great noise, and were exceedingly 
rude. He therefore commanded his nobles to assemble in his pre- 
sence the different priests, of whatever kind, to which each indi- 
vidual noble was accustomed to give alms. In compliance with this 
command pandangas, paribrajikas, nigandas, ajiwakas, and other 
tirttakas were collected together. Proper seats had been provided ; 
but when the king gave permission for them to sit down, some sat 
on high seats, some on low, and others on seats of a middle eleva- 
tion ; whilst others again sat on the mats that were spread on the 
ground ; the whole without any order. After they had partaken 
of the food they were dismissed. The next day they were again 
assembled for a similar purpose ; but the king observed that they 
who had sat on high seats the day before were now on low seats, 
and that they who had sat on low seats were now on high seats, 
and that they stared about without any appearance of propriety in 
their behaviour. From this the king knew that they were all alike 
ignorant of what was right. Not many days afterwards he saw the 
samanera Nigrodha, and was struck by the decorum of his manner. 
This Nigrodha had been the elder brother of the king in a previous 
birth, as will appear from the following narrative. 

There were three brothers, who were honey merchants. The 
elder brother was accustomed to collect the honey in the country ; 
the second took it to the city of Benares ; and the younger brother 
resided in the city to dispose of it by sale. It happened that a 
Pase-Budha, who resided in the cave Nandamulaka, was sick ; and 
another Pase-Budha, who perceived that he might be cured by 
honey, went to Benares in order to procure some, and alighted in 
the street, where he was seen by a poor woman going to fetch water, 
who asked him what it was that he wanted ; and when he said 
that he was seeking honey, she pointed in the direction where the 
younger brother resided, and said that it might be procured there. 
When receiving the honey, the alms-bowl of the Budha overflowed, 
and some of it was spilt upon the ground, which greatly pleased 
the brother, and he thought thus : — " By virtue of this deed may I 
become king of Jambudwipa, and as the honey is spilt upon the 
earth, may my power extend a yojana above the earth into the air, 
and a yojana below into the ground. When the Budha had re- 
ceived the honey, the woman brought a cloth (the only one she 

X 2 


possessed, and it had been washed for the purpose), which she put 
round the bowl, and asked what was the wish that had been ex- 
pressed by the merchant. When she had heard it, she also wished 
that, by virtue of what she had done towards the procuring of the 
honey, she might become his queen. The other brothers, on going 
home, asked what had become of the honey ; and when they were 
told, they were angry with their younger relative ; one wishing that 
the Budha had been at the other side of the sea, and the other 
calling him an outcaste ; but when they were expostulated with, they 
became reconciled, and wished that they might partake in the merit. 
The younger brother became Asoka ; the brother who wished that 
the Budha were at the other side of the sea became Dewananpi- 
yatissa, king of Ceylon, and the other brother, who called him an 
outcaste, was born in an outcaste village, at the foot of a banian 
tree, whence he was called Nigrodha. 

This Nigrodha was the son of Sumana, queen of Sumana, who, 
when she heard that her lord had fallen in battle, fled from the city 
to an adjacent village inhabited by herdsmen, being at the time 
pregnant. The dewa of a nigrodha (banian) tree, seeing her situa- 
tion, invited her to take up her abode near his residence ; and fur- 
ther assisted her by causing a dwelling to appear, which he presented 
for her use, and then vanished away. It was here that Nigrodha 
was born. The chief of the herdsmen waited on her like a servant, 
and provided for her all that she required. When the prince was 
seven years of age, the priest Maha Waruna, who had perceived his 
merit, requested permission from his mother the queen to admit 
him into the priesthood, who consented ; and whilst he was under- 
going the initiatory process of having his hair cut off", he became a 
rahat. On the morning of a certain day, after he had rendered 
service to the superior priests, he resolved upon visiting his mother, 
and on his way thither he entered the city by the southern gate, 
and had to cross the city that he might reach the northern gate ; 
but he did not look about him beyond the distance of a yoke, and 
passed along in a manner that gave great delight to all who saw 
him. It happened that as he approached the palace he was seen 
by the king, who, after he had observed him some time, thus re- 
flected : — " When any one is in fear, he looks hither and thither as 
he passes along ; but this child, to whom play would be natural, 
remains with his eyes flxed, and carries his limbs in the most grace- 
ful manner ; the faith of this child, whatever it be, is certainly that 


which was taught by the Most Excellent." It was by means of the 
merit he had attained in a previous age that his attention was now 
attracted to the samanera. The king commanded him to be called ; 
but, when approaching the royal presence, his manner was not 
changed, neither did his eyes wander. The king said that, if there 
was any seat proper for him to occupy, he was requested to sit down. 
Nigrodha looked round, and when he saw that no superior priest 
was present, he gave his alms-bowl into the hands of the king, and 
seated himself upon the throne. On seeing this, the king thought, 
" He will this very day become the chief of the palace ;" and he 
then gave him the food that had been prepared for himself, of which 
he took as much as he required. Asoka, greatly delighted, asked 
him if he were acquainted with the doctrines of Budha ; and when 
the samanera replied, that as he had only lately been admitted to 
the priesthood, he was not able to declare them to any great extent,* 
the king requested him to make known to them a little of what he 
knew. The priest reflected : — " This is a cruel king ; he takes life ; 
he delays to acquire merit ; it will be right to say something that 
will be applicable to his circumstances." He therefore began to 
deliver the discourse called appamada-waggo (the word appamada 
meaning non-dilatoriness ; haste, diligence) ; but when he had 
spoken two lines of the first stanza, the king said that he would not 
trouble him to repeat further, as his doubts were now solved, and 
he received the true faith. The next day Nigrodha visited the 
palace in company with thirty-two other priests, and after they had 
said bana, the king repeated the threefold protective formulary, re- 
ceived the five precepts, and had the faith of a novice. On the 
following day he was invited to bring double the number of priests ; 
and the day after a similar invitation was given. Thus, the number 
invited was doubled every successive day, until those who attended 
were 60,000, all of w^hom received as much food as they required. 
The king erected the Asokarama monastery, and presented it to the 
priesthood. Nigrodha, when twenty years of age, received the 
upasampada ordination, and afterwards became president of the 

From this period the king was called Dharmmasoka. Every day 
he gave in alms five lacs of treasure, for the support of the faith. 
Not reckoning what was received from the eighty-four thousand 

* This declaration is inconsistent with the wisdom usually ascribed to the 


cities of the kingdom, tlie fifty-six treasure cities, the ninety-nine 
maritime cities, and the ninety-six kelas and one lac of towns, and 
saying nothing of the smaller places, he received daily from the 
tolls taken in the metropolis five lacs; viz., one lac at each of the 
principal gates, and one lac at the hall in the centre of the city. 
The lac received at the central hall was expended in providing 
requisites for the priests of the Asokarama monastery alone, after 
four pools had been made into baths for the priests at a vast expense. 
Of the four lacs received at the gates, one was expended in pro- 
viding flowers, oil, rice, and similar offerings, to be presented in 
the name of Budha ; another in providing requisites for the priests 
who said bana ; and a third for the rest of the priesthood. The 
remaining lac was presented to Nigrodha, who received every day, 
at three several times, morning, noon, and night, upon festive 
elephants, in grand procession, robes, perfumes, food, and 500 vases 
of flowers. By this means vast numbers of the priests throughout 
Jambudwipa were clothed, and received sustenance. 

In the fourth year of the reign of Asoka, the sub-king Tissa, and 
Aggibrahmana, the king's son-in-law, with a lac of other persons, 
embraced the priesthood and became rahats. In the same year, as 
he was one day presenting gifts to the 60,000 priests in the wihara 
of Asokarama, he enquired of them how many discourses Gotama 
had delivered ; and when he was told by Moggaliputta- tissa that 
the number was 84,000, he resolved upon building a monastery in 
84,000 of the cities of Jambudwipa.^' For this purpose he gave in 
one day ninety-six kelas of treasure. The king then asked who had 
made the greatest offering that had ever yet been presented to 
Budha, and Moggaliputta-tissa replied that the monarch himself 
was the principal donor, as no one had offered gifts so rich as he, 
even in the lifetime of the sage. The king, on hearing this, 
enquired if he might consider himself as a partaker in the faith, or 
as admitted into the grand privileges of Budhism ; but he was 
informed that he was not. Then said he, " if one who has pre- 
sented so many gifts, and exercised so much faith, is not a partaker 
in these privileges, who is ?" The priests made known to him, as 
they saw the advantages the faith would thereby receive, that if 

* In 1823, an inscription in Pali referring to one of the 84,000 shrines, that 
had been erected upon the same spot, was found at Budha Gaya; and in 
several other parts of Lrdia, monuments bearing this monarch's name are still 
in existence. 


any one were to cause his son or daughter to enter the priesthood, 
he would be considered as a true religrionist. The kincj looked in 
the face of the prince Mahindo, at that time about twenty years of 
age, and asked him if he were willing to enter the i^riesthood. The 
prince, who had earnestly desired it from the time that his uncle 
Tissa had embraced the sacred possession, replied, " Sire, I am 
willing." The princess Sanghamitta was also near, about eighteen 
years of age, and the king looking towards her said, " Mother, can 
you also take the vows ?" and as she had wished to do so from the 
time Aggibrahmana, her husband, had separated from her for the 
same purpose, she replied, " It is good, sire ; I will become a 
priestess." When this was concluded, the king, with much satis- 
faction, enquired if he were now regarded as one of the faithful, and 
the answer he received was in the affirmative. Moggaliputta-tissa 
became the president (upajjhayo) and Maha Dewa the reader, on 
the admission of the prince to the priesthood, as a samanera ; and 
when he received the upasampada ordination, at which time he 
became a rahat, Majjhanti was the president. On the admission of 
the princess to the sacred profession, the rahat Ayupali was the 
president, and Dharmmapalini the reader ; and she also became a 
rahat on the day that she received the upasampada ordination. It 
was in the sixth year of the king's reign that these two illustrious 
personages embraced the priesthood. The prince acquired the 
understanding of the three Pitakas, with the various ordinances, in 
three years, and became the principal disciple of his preceptor. 

When the tirttakas saw the prosperity attendant upon the reli- 
gion of Budha, they sought admission into the priesthood ; but they 
continued the practice of many things that were contrary to the 
Winaya. When these abuses came to the knowledge of Dharm- 
masoka, he commanded Moggaliputta-tissa to expel from the priest- 
hood 60,000 tirttakas who had transgressed the ordinances, and from 
60,000 faithful priests to choose a thousand for the holding of a 
convocation of which he was to be the president. These commands 
were obeyed, and the convocation assembled in the monastery of 
Asokarama. The recitation of the sacred code occupied nine 
months ; after which the priests were dismissed to their respective 
residences. This was the third great convocation. It was held in 
the 17th year of the reign of Dharmmasoka, and in the 235th 
year after the dissolution of Budha. 

This account is taken by the Singhalese translator from the Com- 


mentary on the Pitakas, ■written by Budhagosha, and must have 
been compiled upwards of 700 years after the third convocation. 
The narrative has received many additions that we must reject as 
inconsistent with the truth ; and though many of these fictions are 
too absurd to deserve serious contradiction, it is of some importance 
to notice, that the accuracy of the dates given to these assemblies 
has been called in question by the late Mr. Tumour, in his " Exa- 
mination of the Pali Budhistical Annals," inserted in the Journal of 
the Bengal Asiatic Societj% Sept. 1837. Mr. Tumour, though he 
: saw no reason to doubt " the correctness of the Budhistical era, 
founded on the death of Sakya, or b. c. 543," distrusts the date 
given to the second and third convocations. It is said in the ori- 
ginal atithorities that no fewer than eight of the leading members 
who officiated at the second convocation had seen Budha, As the 
earliest age at which they could be admitted as novices was seven 
years, they must have been at least 107 years old. Moreover, it is 
said that Sabbakami, who presided in the same convocation, had 
lived in the possession of the upasampada. ordination 120 years ; 
and he must therefore have been at this period 140 years old, as 
this rite cannot be received under the age of twenty. Yet, the 
third convocation, only 135 years later, was presided over by 
Moggaliputta-tissa, at that time seventy-two years of age, who is 
represented as being the sixth remove in regular succession from 
the death of Gotama. It may be said that these are not absolute 
impossibilities ; but there is another argument against their cor- 
rectness, founded on data of an entirely different description. The 
third convocation is said to have been held in the seventeenth year 
of the reign of Asoka, or b. c. 308. But it was in the year b. c. 326 
that Alexander invaded India, at which time Sandracottus reigned 
at Pataliputra; and if Sandracottus is the same as Chandagutta, 
there must be a discrepancy between the European and Budhistical 
chronologies of about sixty-five years. It would therefore seem, 
that the date of the last convocation has been falsified, in order that 
the introduction of Budhism into Ceylon* might be invested with 
the greater lustre, from being effected by the son of so illustrious a 
monarch as the supreme ruler of India, and one who had rendered 
so much assistance to the religion of Gotama upon the continent. 

The adjustments of these dates is, however, of minor importance, 
compared with the question of the credit due to the history of the 

* See the chapter entitled, The Modern Priesthood. 


convocations as a statement of facts. It is possible that the convo- 
cations took place, and for the purposes specified ; but it is not 
credible that the entire text of the Pitakas could be retained in the 
memory for the space of six generations, allowing that the state- 
ment relative to the number of the hierarchs is correct. Yet it 
would be unfair not to notice, that from our own personal expe- 
rience we can form no idea of the retcntiveness of the memory 
under other circumstances. Herodotus was astonished at the 
powers of memory exhibited by the Egyptian priests. The Druids 
are said by Caesar to have been able to repeat a great number of 
verses by heart, no fewer than twenty years being sometimes ex- 
pended on the acquirement, as it was accounted unlawful to commit 
their statutes to writing. It is supposed that the poems of Homer 
and Hesiod were preserved in the memories of the rhapsodists, by 
whom they were recited, for the space of 500 years ; and in the 
middle ages the poems recited by the minstrels were of considerable 
length. The rythm of the verse would aid the memory ; and as a 
great part of the Pitakas is in metrical stanza, the priests would have 
a similar assistance. They would have another advantage in the 
great number of repetitions, not only of epithets and comparisons, 
but also of historical details and doctrinal formulas, that are con- 
stantly presented. But with every artificial aid it was possible to 
possess, it is utterly incredible that the whole text of the Pitakas 
could be retained in the memory of any one man, however extra- 
ordinary might be his power of mental retcntiveness. 

The idea of the preservation of revealed truth by tradition was 
already familiar to the Budhists, from the manner in which it was 
supposed that the Vedas were originally transmitted. The original 
Veda is believed by the Hindus to have been revealed by Brahma,* 
and to have been preserved by tradition, until it was arranged in 
its present order by a sage, who thence obtained the surname of 
Vyasa, or VadaA^yasa, that is, compiler of the Vedas. The sacred 
books were divided into four parts, which are severally entitled 
Rich (from the verb rich, to laud, as properly signifying any prayer or 
hymn, in which a deity is praised) ; Yajush (from the verb yaj, to 
worship or adore) ; Saman (from the root sho, convertible into so 
and sa, and signifying to destroy, as denoting something which 

* Tlic Kudhists say that the three Ycdas were propounded orioinally by 
Maha Brahma, at which tiinc they were perfect truth ; but they have shice 
been corrupted by the Brahmans, and now contain many errors. 


destroys sin) ; and Atharvana. Each of these parts bears the com- 
mon denomination of the Veda. The Atharvana is commonly ad- 
mitted as a fourth Veda, but is regarded as of less authority than 
the others ; and it is supposed by Wilkins and Sir W. Jones to be 
of more modern origin. There are also divers mythological poems, 
entitled Itihasa and Puranas, which are reckoned as a fifth Veda. 
Vyasa taught the several Vedas to as many disciples : viz., the Rich 
to Paila, to Yajush, to Vaisampayana, and the Saman to Jaimini ; 
also the Atharvana to Sumantu, and the Itihasa and Puranas to 

Different parts of the Pitakas may have been remembered by 
different persons ; and the laortions remembered by each being 
collected together, the text may have been compiled therefrom 
according to its present arrangement. This, indeed, appears to 
have been the method in which the Koran was in part compiled. 
Whenever Mahomet revealed a new portion of matter, it was taken 
down by a scribe, and copied by his followers, who also learnt it by 
heart. At the warrior's death, these writings were all in confusion ; 
and as Abu Bekr reflected that already many were slain in the wars 
who were acquainted with different passages that had been revealed, 
he ordered that the whole should be collected, both those that had 
been written and those that were retained in the memory, lest any 
portion should be lost ; and from these he compiled the Koran 
under its present form.f As the contends of the Koran are con- 
fessedly thrown into great confusion, it is probable that this tradi- 
tion is founded upon truth ; and though the text of the Pitakas is 
presented vmder a greater regularity of arrangement, we may con- 
clude that its origin was after a similar method. The nucleus of 
the sacred books was probably formed at an early period, after 
which successive additions were made, until some council or convo- 
cation invested with the proper authority established the canon, and 
prevented the innovations that would otherwise have been attempted. 
When the style in which the Pitakas are written has been more 
carefully examined, differences may be noted from which the rela- 
tive antiquity of the several parts may be ascertained ; as the differ- 
ences of style between the books of the Septuagint are decisive evi- 
dence that they were not simultaneously translated, in the manner 
maintained by the ancient Jews. 

Thus we see that the transmission of the text to the period of the 

* Colebrooke's Miscellaneous Essays, i. 10. f Sale's Koran. 


third convocation, in the mode set forth in the work itself, was not 
possible ; even allowing that in the first convocation a canon pro- 
fessing to be authoritative was established. But this is not the 
only difficulty. It is further stated that the text was preserved in 
the same w^ay from the time of Asoka to that of Wattagamani, 
who reigned in Ceylon from b. c. 104 to b. c. 76. It was then, 
according to the Mahawanso, cap. xxx, first committed to writing. 
" The profoundly wise priests had theretofore orally perpetuated the 
text of the Pitakattayan and the Atthakatha. At this period these 
priests, foreseeing the perdition of the people (from the perversions 
of the true doctrines) assembled ; and in order that religion might 
endure for ages, recorded the same in books." The traditions of 
the Burmans are in accordance with these statements. They say 
that " the communications of Gotama, made at first to his imme- 
diate disciples, were by them retained in memory during five cen- 
turies or more ; and were afterwards agreed upon in several suc- 
cessive general councils, and finally reduced to writing on palm- 
leaves in the island of Ceylon, in the 94th year before Christ." * 
The three Pitakas are therefore not a record that has come down to 
us from the age of Gotama. They were written in the 94th year 
B. c. ; and though it is said by the Budhists that they were orally 
i preserved, in a manner the most perfect, from the death of Budha 
V to that period, the statement is not w^orthy of credit, as it would be 
impossible under ordinary circumstances, and we deny that men 
with powers like those attributed to the rahats ever existed. 

In the enumeration of the sacred books of the Budhists by Csoma 
Korosi, no mention is made of their oral transmission, nor of their 
being reduced to writing in Ceylon. " The great compilation of 
the Tibetan sacred books, in 100 volumes, is styled Ka-gyur, or 
vulgarly, Kan-gyur, i. e. Translation of Commandment,! on account 
of their being translated from the Sanscrit, or from the ancient 
Indian language, by which may be understood the Pracrlta, or dia- 
lect of Magadha, the principal seat of the Budhist faith in India at 
the period. These books contain the doctrine of Shakya, a Budha, 
who is supposed by the generality of Tibetan authors to have lived 

* Crawford's Embassy to Ava. 

4 A copy of this collection, in 100 volumes, was made at the expense of 
thq Bengal Asiatic Society, under the direction of Csoma KiJriJsi, wliich cost 
13,000 fi-ancs. This magnihcent work was presented by that Society to the 
Asiatic Society of Paris, and afterwards placed in the Cabinet of Mamiscrijits 
belonging to the Royal I/ibrary, that it might be carefully preserved and at 
the same time rendered accessible to all oriental students. 


about 1000 years before the beginning of the Christian era. They 
were compiled at three different times, in three different places, in 
ancient India. First, immediately after the death of Shakya ; after- 
wards in the time of Ashoka, a celebrated king, whose residence 
was at Pataliputra, 110 years after the decease of Shakya. And, 
lastly, in the time of Kaniska, a king in the north of India, upwards 
of 400 years from Shakya, when his followers had separated them- 
selves into eighteen sects, under four principal divisions, of which 
the names both Sanscrit and Tibetan are recorded. The first com- 
pilers were three individuals of Shakya's principal disciples. Upali 
compiled the Vinaya Sutram ; Anandah, the Sutrantah ; and Kash- 
yapa, the Prajnya-paramita. These several works were imported 
into Tibet, and translated there between the seventh and thirteenth 
centuries of our era, but mostly in the ninth. . . . The Ka-gyur collec- 
tion comprises the seven following great divisions, which are in fact 
distinct works. 1. Vinaya, or Discipline, in thirteen volumes. 2. 
Prajnya-paramita, or Transcendental Wisdom, in twenty-one 
volumes. 3. Buddha-vata-sanga, or Buddha Community, in six 
volumes. 4. Ratnakuta, or Gems heaped up, in six volumes. 5. 
Sutranta, or Aphorisms, or Tracts, in thirty volumes. 6. Nirvana, 
or Deliverance from Pain, in two volumes. 7. Tantra, or Mystical 
Doctrine, Charms, in twenty-two volumes : forming altogether 
exactly 100 volumes. The whole Ka-gyur collection is very fre- 
quently alluded to under the name, in Sanscrit, Tripitakah, the 
three Vessels or Repositories, comjDrehending under this appel- 
lation, 1st, the Dulva, or Vinaya; 2nd, the Do, or Sutra ; 3rd, 
the Sher-ch'hin, or Abhidharmah." *' From this extract, in which 
I have omitted the Tibetan names, it will be seen that the sacred 
books of Tibet must in a great measure be the same as those of 
Ceylon ; but from another extract from the same author, it will 
appear that the account of their origin is widely different. It 
is translated from the Index or Introduction to the 100 volumes 
of the Ka-gyur, and is there taken from the fourth Commentary on 
the Kala Chakra Tantra. " After Tathagata, the most accom- 
plished Budha, the Bhagavan, had been delivered from pain (or 
sorrow, i. e. had died) here in Aryadesha, the compilers writing in 
three books, the three vehicles (or works on three-fold principles) 
they expressed all the three true repositories of Sutra, of Tathagata, in 
his language. The Prajnya-paramita and the Mantras in Sanscrit ; 

* Analysis of the Dulva, by Alex. Csoma Korcisi, Asiatic Researches, 
vol. XX. 


the several sorts of Tantras in several languages, Sanscrit, Pracrit, 
Apabransha, in that of the mountaineers, and all sorts of melechchas. 
The compilers thus collected all the doctrines taught by the all- 
knowing. Accordingly all the three Vehicles (yanam) in Tibet 
were written in the Tibetan language ; in China, in Chinese ; in 
Great China, in Great Chinese ; in the Parsika country, in the 
Parsik language. On the north of the Sita (Jaxartes) river, in the 
language of the Champaka country, the Ape or Monkey country, 
and of the Gold land." * The traditions of the Nepaulese upon 
the same subject differ in a degree equally great from those of 
Ceylon. " The most important work of the specvdative kind now 
extant in Nepaul is the Raksha Bhagavati, consisting of no less than 
125,000 slocas. Its arrangement at least, and reduction to writing, 
are attributed (as are those of all the other Bauddha scriptures) 
to Sakya Sinha. Whatever the Buddhas have said (sugutai desita) 
is an object of worship with the Bauddhas. Sakya having collected 
these words of the Buddhas, and secured them in a written form, 
they are now worshipped under the names of Sutra and Dharma.'" f 
These statements are so much at variance with each other, that no 
conclusion can be come to as to the age in which the Pitakas were 
compiled, until further researches have been made ; and as the 
subject has been purposely mystified by the Budhists, it is probable 
that it never will be established upon a basis so firm as to leave no 
room for doubt. 

Until an analysis of the Pitakas has been published, and its more 
important portions have been translated at length, no compendium 
of Budhism can be formed containing an authoritative and perfect 
exhibition of its doctrines. This task is not beyond the capacity of 
one individual ; but it would require for its right accomplishment an 
early attention to languages, a familiar acquaintance with the lite- 
rature of metaphysics, indomitable perseverance, the opportunity of 
reference to the more learned of the native priests, and a more 
lengthened period of residence in an eastern clime than is usually 
the lot of the severe student. The core of the system appears to 
lie in a very narrow compass, and as we have frequently had to 
notice, its repetitions are endless. " I had contemplated the idea,'' 

* Journal Bcnfial As. Soc. March, 1838. 

t Hodgson's Illustrations. But at a subsequent period the same author 
says, " Sakya, like other Indian sages, taught orally, and it is doubtful if he 
himself reduced his doctrines to a written code, though the great scriptures of 
the sect are generally attributed to him." 


Mr. Tumour writes, " at one period, of attempting the analysis of 
the entire Pitakattayan, aided in the undertaking by the able assist- 
ance afforded to me by the Budhist priests, who are my constant 
coadjutors in my Pali researches ; but I soon found that, indepen- 
dently of my undertaking a task for the efficient performance of 
which I did not possess sufficient leisure, no analysis would suc- 
cessfully develop the contents of that work, unless accompanied by 
annotations and explanations of a magnitude utterly inadmissible 
in any periodical." * 

In size, the Pitakas surpass all western compositions, but are ex- 
ceeded by the sacred books of the Brahmans. The four Vedas, 
when collected, form eleven huge folio volumes. The Puranas, 
which constitute but part of the first of the Up-angas, extend to 
about 2,000,000 of lines. The Ramayana rolls on to 100,000 
lines ; whilst the Mahabharat quadruples even that sum. The 
poems of Homer extend to 30,000, and the ^neid of Virgil to 
nearly 10,000 lines. The old epic poem called Danais or Dana'ides, 
mentioned in the Tabular Raica, but now lost, contained 5,500 
verses. The ^thiopis of Arktinus contained 9,100 verses. Dio- 
genes Laertius asserts that Aristotle wrote forty-fovir myriads of 
lines ; and yet that Epicurus wrote more than Aristotle, and Chry- 
sippus more than Epicurus. Josephus mentions that his own 
Antiquities contain 60,000 lines. The German Percival, a romance 
of the middle ages, has nearly 25,000, and the German Tristan 
more than 23,000 verses. The Paradise Lost of Milton has about 
10,000 lines. The Koran has about 6,000 verses, 77,639 words, 
and 323,015 letters. The Hebrew Old Testament, according to the 
Masorites, contains 815,140 letters. The English Old Testament 
has 592,439 words, and 2,728,800 letters ; the English New Testa- 
ment, 181,253 words, and 838,380 letters ; or in the entire English 
Bible, 773,692 words, and 3,567,180 letters. But according to the 
computation of Turnour, the text alone of the Pitakas contains 
4,500 leaves, each page being about 2 feet long, and containing 
nine lines. Thus 4,500x2x9=81,000 lines. These lines are 
written without any space between the words, and we may there- 
fore conclude that in one line there are at least as many as ten lines 
of any ordinary poetical measure. Therefore 81,000 X 10=810,000. 
Again, the commentary extends to a greater length than the Pit- 

* Joui-nal Bengal As. Soc. July, 1837. 


akas, so that there must be nearly 2,000,000 lines in the whole of 
the sacred books. 

It was at one time supposed by many orientalists that the sacred 
books of the Budhists were originally written in Sanskrit, and after- 
Avards translated into the different languages in which they now 
appear. This idea arose, in part, from the fact that numerous 
Budhistical works are found in this language in Nepaul ; but Mr. 
Hodgson, who was long of this opinion, which he defended with 
much research and his usual energy of expression, now states "that 
the honours of Ceylonese literature and of the Pali language are no 
longer disputable." The Budhistical works in Sanskrit discovered 
by that gentleman are now found to be copiously interspersed with 
passages in various Pracrits, Pali among the rest, pretty much in 
the manner of the Hindu drama, wherein this mixture of less 
finished dialects with the Sanskrit is of common occurrence.* It 
was announced that " the original books of Budha " were at Jessel- 
mere, and they were called " the Sybelline volumes which none 
dare even handle ; " but at a later period, when Major Dixon, in 
compliance with the wish of the Bengal Asiatic Society, made en- 
quiry as to the supposed existence of this extensive Budhist library, 
he could only hear of one single work relating to the religion of 

The Pali was the vernacular language of Magadha in the time of 
Gotama Budha. The decyphering of the alphabet, by the late J. 
Prinsep, in which the ancient inscriptions scattered throughout 
India are written, as well as the legends upon ancient coins, has 
led to the establishment of the fact that "the wonder-working 
Pali " held universal sway during the prevalence of the Budhist 
faith in India, and that even in Bactria and Persia this language, 
or something very closely resembling it, prevailed. According to 
M. Bopp, the relation between these two idioms is nearer than that 
which subsists between most of the distinct branches of the Indo- 
European system, and it may be compared to the degree of affinity 
which the Latin bears to the Greek, or the old Norse to the Maeso- 
Gothic.:!: The high state of cultivation to which the Pali language 
was carried, and the great attention that has been paid to it in 
Ceylon, may be inferred from the fact, that a list of works in the 
possession of the Singhalese that I formed during my residence in 

* Hodgson's lUustralions, 1841. t Journal Bengal As. Soc. March, 1837. 
+ Pricliard's Physical History of Mankind, iv. 22. 


that island, includes thirty-five works on Pali grammar, some of 
them being of considerable extent. The oldest of the grammars 
referred to in these works is by Kachchayano, but the original is 
not now extant in Ceylon. It contains the well-known stanza : — 
" There is a language which is the root (of all languages) ; men 
and brahmas at the commencement of the kalpa, who never before 
heard or uttered a human accent, and even the supreme Budhas, 
spoke it ; it is Magadhi." The Singhalese suppose that it is , 
also the language of the dewa and brahma lokas. They have/ 
a legend as to its antiquity similar in character to the story related 
of Psammitichus, when two new-born infants were shut up in a 
solitary cottage, attended by a shepherd who was not to speak to 
them, that by the language they first made use of to express their 
wants, the primitive language might be known. 

III. 21)6 Honours received by the Sacred BooJcs, and the Benefits they 
co7i/er.— The Dharmma being regarded as the second of the three 
greatest treasures in the possession of either men or dewas, the 
honours that it receives are commensurate with the estimation in 
which it is held. It is literally worshipped, and benefits are ex- 
pected to be received in consequence of this adoration, as much as 
: if it were an intelligent being. The books are usually wrapped in 
cloth, and when their names are mentioned an honourific is added, 
equivalent to reverend or illustrious. Upon some occasions they 
are placed upon a kind of rude altar, near the road-side, as I have 
seen the images of saints in Roman Catholic countries, that those 
who pass by may put money upon it in order to obtain merit. The 
same custom is mentioned by Knox as being frequent during the time 
of his captivity. The Nava Dharma and other works are regularly 
worshipped in Nepaul. The Hindus pay a similar respect to their 
shastras, anointing them with perfumes, adorning them with gar- 
lands, and offering to them worship. 

The praises of the bana are a favourite siibject with the native 
authors. Whenever an opportunity is presented they launch out 
into a strain of commendation, heaping epithet upon epithet with 
untirino- zeal ; and in some works the same phrases are many times 
repeated, with an exactness that is very distasteful to the western 
reader. A few extracts from this prolific source are here inserted. 

The discourses of Budha are as a divine charm to cure the poison 
of evil desire ; a divine medicine to heal the disease of anger ; a 
lamp in the midst of the darkness of ignorance ; a fire, like that 


which burns at the end of a kalpa, to destroy the evils of repeated 
existence ; a meridian sun to dry up the mud of covetousness ; a 
great rain to quench the flame of sensuality ; a thicket to block up 
the road that leads to the narakas ; a ship in which to sail to the 
opposite shore of the ocean of existence ; a collyrium for taking 
away the eye-film of heresy ; a moon to bring out the night- bio wing 
lotus of merit ; a succession of trees bearing immortal fruit, placed 
here and there, by which the traveller may be enabled to cross the 
desert of existence ; a ladder by which to ascend to the dewa-lokas ; 
a straight highway by which to pass to the incomparable wisdom ; 
a door of entrance to the eternal city of nirwana ; a talismanic tree 
to give whatever is requested ; a flavour more exquisite than any 
other in the three worlds ; a treasury of the best things it is pos- 
sible to obtain ; and a power by which may be appeased the sorrow 
of every sentient being. 

The dharmma is perfect ; having nothing redundant, and nothing 
wanting. But it requires attention, that the benefits it offers may 
be received. Though the teacher may attain great happiness, and 
enter nirwana, it does not follow that the disciple will necessarily 
possess the same privileges ; he may be like one who binds the crown 
upon the head of another. Therefore each one for himself must 
exercise meditation, and observe the ordinances, that he may attain 

For the right understanding of the discourses of Budha, a know- 
ledge of the following subjects is required :— the five khandas, the 
six ayatanas, the four dhatus, the four satyas or great truths, and 
the paticha-samuppada, or circle of existence. These five subjects 
are called bhumi, or the ground. Sila-wisudhi, the right observ- 
ance of the precepts, and chitta-wisudhi, purity of mind, are called 
mula or root, as being the root set in the previous ground. Drishti- 
wisudhi, purity of knowledge, kankha-witarana-wisudhi, the entire 
removal of doubt, maggamagga-gnyana-dassana-wisudhi, the know- 
ledge of what belongs to the paths (leading to nirwana) and what 
does not, patipada-gnyana-dassana-wisudhi, the knowledge of what 
is necessary to be done in order to attain felicity, and gnyana- 
dassana-wisudhi, are called serira, the stem or trunk. Thus the 
five principles called bhumi will be as the ground, and the five sub- 
jects as the root, from which will be produced the serira as the tree, 
by the exercise of meditation ; and from that will be produced the 



attainment of the paths. The four paths, the fruition of the paths, 
nirwana, and the bana, are the ten dharmmas — dasa dharmma. 

On a certain occasion the priest Kalabudharakshita, who resided 
in the cave called Rajagiri, near Anuradhapura, repeated the Kala- 
karama-sutra, at the foot of a tinibiri tree. Whilst thus engaged, 
he began to perspire ; but the sun appeared in one quarter, and the 
moon in another, and caused a breeze to arise that he might thereby 
be cooled. At the same time, like a beautiful woman opening her 
mouth so that her teeth may just be perceived, all the buds of the 
trees in the forest began to unfold themselves partially ; all the bees 
began to murmur an offering of praise ; all the pea-fowl, doves, and 
other birds remained in silence, lest they should disturb the sound 
of the bana, and they listened attentively for the commencement of 
the recitation, thinking every moment that it would begin ; even 
the apes and other animals all remained in anxious expectation. 
"When the priest began to speak, his voice rose from the midst of 
the assembly like thunder from a rain-cloud ; from rainbow lips his 
tongue moved, like the play of the lightning ; and the words came 
from his rain-cloud mouth, falling upon the hearts of those who 
listened, like a shower of divine instruction, filling as many tanks 
and pools. At that time Sardha-tissa was king of Anuradhapura, 
who, having heard that the priest Kalabudharakshita was about to 
say bana, took with him seven of his faithful attendants, and went 
to the timbiri tree, where he remained during the whole of the 
night watches without being perceived. When the day dawned, 
and the darkness had passed away, like evil desire from the hearts 
of the worshippers, the priest imparted the five obligations to the 
assemblage. The king then came from his concealment, com- 
mended the skill of the priest, and took the obligations. On being 
asked at what time he had come, he said that he arrived during the 
recitation of the first stanza, and had remained there ever since. 
The priest replied, that his majesty was of a delicate frame, and 
that it must have fatigued him to remain so long ; but he graciously 
made answer, " If you were the speaker, I could remain to hear 
bana during the whole of either of our lives. I have heard every 
word, and I would rather inherit only so much of this realm of 
Lanka as could be covered by the point of a goad, than have missed 
the privilege of hearing it." The king then lauded the priest ; and 
the priest, the people, and the dewas praised the king. After this 
Sardha-tissa informed the priest that he had never previously heard 


bana of the same description, and asked him how he had learnt so 
many particulars respecting the virtues of Biidha, and if more could 
be declared upon the same subject. Kalabudharakshita replied, 
that it was from the three pitakas, the discourses on the 550 births, 
the 299 katha-wastus, and the 17,575 sutras, he had learnt these 
things. " "What !" said the king, " is there more bana, in addition 
to that which you have repeated to us ?" The reply of the priest 
was this : " What I have declared bears the same proportion to all 
the sayings of Budha that a single grain does to the harvest of a 
thousand fields ; or a drop of water, the size of a mustard seed, to 
the whole body of the ocean ; or the portion of earth taken up by 
a small bird, to the entire mass of the earth ; or the atom that an 
ant takes into its mouth, to the carcase of an elephant ; or the rain 
that merely covers a splinter of wood, to the flood that would over- 
flow the four continents ; or the portion of sky covered by the wing 
of a bird when flying, to the whole expanse of the heavens. That 
which I have declared is little ; that which I have not declared is 
immeasurable." The king was so much delighted with what he 
had heard, that he said, if he had been a universal emperor he 
would have given the four great continents to those who say bana ; 
if he had been king of Jambudwipa, he would have given the whole 
of that portion of the world ; if he had been king of the dewas, he 
would have given the dewa-lokas ; but that as he was only king of 
Lanka, this small realm was all that he could give ; yet this he 
freely offered. The priest said in answer, " We accept what you 
have given, that you may enjoy the merit of the gift; biit we re- 
turn it to you again, as we have no need of two kingdoms ; that of 
the dharmma is sufficient for us. Respect the three gems, regard 
the precepts, reign righteously, and be blessed both in this w^orld 
and the next." The king, after worshipping the priest, returned to 
his palace in the city. 

The advantages to be received from listening to the bana are re- 
presented by the native authors as being immensely great; and 
there is scarcely any benefit presented to the mind of the Budhist 
that may not be derived from the exercise. This is in conformity 
with the sentiments generally entertained in the east, as the Brah- 
mans also assert of their puranas, that " it is an act of the greatest 
merit, extinguishing all sin, for the people to read these books or 
hear them read." In the earliest ages of Budhism, Avhen the bana 
was in the vernacular language of the people, w-e may suppose that 

o 2 


great effects were produced by its recitation, and by the discourses 
that were delivered in explaining its doctrines and duties ; but its 
rehearsal has now degenerated into an unmeaning form, leading the 
people to found their hopes of blessedness upon an act that cannot 
in any way be beneficial. A few additional extracts may form a 
suitable conclusion to our account of the Sacred Books. 

The Brahmans say that the destruction of evil desire may be 
effected by the reading of the Bharata or Ramayana ; but this is not 
possible. It is only by listening to the bana of Budha that this 
effect can be produced. 

There are two principal modes of dana, or almsgiving. 1. 
Dharmma-dana, providing for the recitation of the bana, or the 
giving of religious instruction. 2. Amisa-dana, presenting robes, 
alms-bowls, and other requisites of the priesthood ; and giving cattle, 
garments, and ornaments, to supply the necessities of the poor. 
Of these two modes, the former is the most meritorious. 

The dewas in Tawutisa being on one occasion assembled toge- 
ther, propounded to each other four questions : — 1. What is the 
principal dana? 2. What is the principal taste or enjoyment? 
3. What is the principal desire? 4. What is the principal evil? 
The dewas of 10,000 sakwalas considered these questions con- 
tinually for the space of twelve years, but were unable to come to 
any conclusion. They therefore went to the four guardian deities, 
called waram ; but neither could they determine the questions. 
Upon which they referred the matter to Sekra, who said that they 
had better go at once to Budha ; and when they went, he accom- 
panied them. After hearing these questions, Gotama replied, " 1. 
Of all modes of dana, dharmma-dana is the chief. 2. Of all enjoy- 
ments, that of the dharmma is the most exquisite. 3. Of all desires, 
that of the dharmma is the most excellent. 4. Of all evils, the re- 
petition of existence is the greatest." Budha said further, " Were 
any one to give the three robes to Budha, the Pase-Budhas, or the 
rahats, though the material of their fabric were as soft and smooth 
as the tender bud of the plantain, the hearing or reading of one 
single stanza of the bana would bring him a greater reward ; indeed 
its reward would be more than sixteen times greater." 

Were any one to fill the bowl of Budha with the choicest food, or 
to present oil, sugar, honey, or other medicaments in the greatest 
abundance, or to build thousands of wiharas splendid as those of 
Anuradhapura, or to present an offering to Budha like that of 


Anepidu, the hearing or reading of one single stanza of the bana 
would be more meritorious than all. He who listens not to the 
bana is unable to procure merit. Even Seriyut, whose wisdom was 
vast as the rain that falls during a whole kalpa, could not attain 
nirwana without hearing the bana of Budha ; it was from hearing a 
stanza repeated by Assaji that he was enabled to enter the paths. 

The dharmma brings to those who listen to it with affection, 
though it be only for a little time, all the happiness of the dewa- 
lokas, the joy of the brahma-lokas, received during myriads of 
years ; the greatness of the chakrawartti, and the other advantages 
of the world of men ; the pleasures that are to be obtained in the 
worlds of the nagas, suparnnas, and other beings ; and the wisdom 
of the supreme Budhas. 

There was a virgin in Kapilawastu, of the Sakya race, who heard 
bana, and had great merit. As she was a woman she could not 
become Sekra, or Maha Brahma, or a chakrawartti ; but when she 
died she became a dewa, changing her sex, and received a glory 
like that of the ruler of Tawutisa. 

There was a certain dewa, who was aware that in eight days he 
must die, and be re-born in a place of torment ; but as he perceived 
that Budha, and he alone, had the power to help him, he went and 
heard bana, by which he was enabled to enter the paths. 

It may be asked why all who heard Budha had not the power to 
become rahats, and the reply is this : — " When the king partakes 
of food, he gives a portion to the princes who are near him, and 
they receive as much as their hands will hold. In like manner, 
when the Budhas say bana, it can only be effectual to those who 
listen, in proportion to their capacity for receiving its advantages, 
though in itself it is always good." 

In the time of Kasyapa Budha there were two priests who lived 
in a cave, and were accustomed to repeat aloud the Abhidharmma 
Pitaka. In the same cave there were 500 white bats, that were 
filled with joy when they heard the bana of the priests, by which 
they acquired merit, so that they afterwards became dewas, and in 
the time of Gotama were born in the world of men. They were the 
500 priests who kept wass at Sakaspura, with Seriyut, when Budha 
visited him from the dewa-loka. Now if these bats, merely 
from hearing the sound of the words of the Abhidharmma, witliout 
understanding them, received so great a reward, it is evident that 


the reward of those who both hear and understand them must be 
something beyond computation. 

The dharmma softens the hearts of even such obdurate beings as 
Angulimala, Suchiroma, Khararoma, Bakabbrahma, Sachaka, and 
Dewadatta. It establishes friendship between beings that have 
naturally the greatest antipathy to each other, as between the asurs 
and the dewas, the nagas and the garundas, snakes and frogs, ele- 
phants and lions, tigers and deer, crows and owls, and cats and rats. 
It is as a witness to tell the beings in the world of men, that they 
Avho are under the power of demerit will be born in a place of 
misery, by this means saving them from this awful state ; even as 
Asoka, the king, was saved from his inveterate scepticism, and led 
to attend to the precepts. It shines upon the darkness of the 
world, as the rays of the sun, when this luminary has ascended the 
Yugandhara rocks, shine upon the lotus flowers of the lake, causing 
them to expand, and bringing out their beauty. 


The Budhists of the present age are image-worshippers ; but it is 
not known at what period they adopted this custom, nor indeed 
at what period it was introduced into India. The first notice of 
idolatry is in connexion with the history of Abraham, whose father 
" served other gods," and there is an ancient tradition, that he was 
a maker of idols. All the nations with which the patriarchs had 
intercourse appear to have been image-worshippers. But if we 
may trust the most ancient uninspired writers, both eastern and 
western, this practice was of more recent establishment among 
other nations. Among the Greeks, the first objects of worship 
were nothing more than a pillar, a log of wood, or a shapeless 
stone. The original image of the Ephesian Artemis, as seen upon 
coins, was little more than a head with a shapeless trunk. When 
statues were introduced, they were of the rudest form ; and it would 
have been regarded as sacrilege to make any innovation upon the 
ancient model. The profession of idol-carvers being hereditary 
would seem to indicate that they had originally belonged to some 
other race. According to Eusebius, the Greeks were not wor- 
shippers of images until the time of Cecrops, and Lucian tells us 


that even the ancient Egyptians had no statues in their temples 
In the Homeric poems there is only one allusion to a statue as a 
work of art. The substitution of images for the more ancient ob- 
jects of worship was supposed to have been brought about by 
Egyptian settlers.* Numa forbade the Romans to set up an image ; 
so that for the space of 170 years from the founding of the city, 
" they made no image, nor statue, nor so much as a. picture." — 
Clemens. Alex. Strom, lib. 1. The British Druids had no images 
among them ; as it was contrary to the principles of the Celtic reli- 
gion to represent any gods by the human figure. f 

It is said by Professor Wilson that the religion of the Vedas was 
not idolatry, their real doctrine being the imity of the Deity in 
whom all things are comprehended. The prevailing character of 
their ritual is the worship of the personified elements. Image -wor- 
ship is alluded to by Manu, but with an intimation that the Brah- 
mas who subsist by ministering in temples are an inferior class. | 
With this agrees the testimony of Dr. Stevenson. " It is manifest," 
he says, " from every page of the Sama and Rig Vedas, that Agni 
was adored under the element of fire, that Mitra had no emblem 
but the sun which shines in the firmament, and that Vayu's pre- 
sence was only known by hearing his voice resound through the 
sacrificial hall. The genius of the pestle and mortar is indeed 
addressed as well as the genius of the mortars ; but no image in 
any human or bestial form appears ever to have been made, except 
when the genius of the oblation was addressed ; the barley-meal of 
which it was composed being formed into something like the shape 
of a human head. But with this doubtful exception, no image was 
introduced into the Jyotishtoma, Somayaga, or other sacred brah- 
manical rites authorised by the Vedas. Polytheistical the worship 
undoubtedly is, but not idolatrous in the proper and distinctive 
sense of that term." § 

The Budhists of Ceylon have a legend that in the lifetime of Gotama 
Budha an image of the founder of their religion was made by order 
of the king of Kosala, and the Chinese have a similar story ; but it 
is rejected by the more intelligent of the priests, who regard it as 
an invention to attract worshippers to the temples. The images of 
Budha are called Pilamas, which means literally a counterpart or 

* See Histories of Greece, by Thirhvall and Grote. 
t Smith's lleligion of Ancient Britain. 
X Wilson's Vishnu Piirana, Preface. 
^^ Journal Royal As. Soc. vol. viii. 


likeness, and though they are not coeval with Budhism, they must 
have come into use at an early period. In the inscription at Mihin- 
tala, A. D. 246, mention is made of the great house of the pilama. 
Fa Hian, a. d. 400, saw many of these images in his travels. At 
Tho li, in northern India, he saw a statue of wood, 80 feet high, of 
the future Budha, Maitri, the likeness of whom had been brought 
from the fourth heaven by a rahat. At Sewet he saw the statue of 
sandal-wood made by the king of Kosala, which was said to be the 
model of all the statues afterwards erected. At Anuradhapura he 
saw an image of blue jasper, 23 feet 6 inches high, set with pre- 
cious stones, and sparkling with inexpressible splendour. In its 
right hand was a pearl of great value. At Amarapura there is an 
image of Budha, 20 cubits high, said to have been made during the 
life-time of the sage. 

The wiharas in which the images are deposited are generally, in 
Ceylon, permanent erections, the walls being plastered, and the 
roof covered with tiles, even when the dwellings of the priests are 
mean and temporary. Near the entrance are frequently seen figures 
in relievo, who are called the guardian deities of the temple. Sur- 
rounding the sanctum there is usually a narrow room, in which are 
images and paintings ; but in many instances it is dark, the gloom 
into which the worshipper passes at once, when entering during 
tbe day, being well calculated to strike his mind with awe ; and 
when he enters at night the glare of the lamps tends to produce an 
effect equally powerful. Opposite the door of entrance there is 
another door, protected by a screen ; and when this is withdrawn an 
image of Budha is seen, occupying nearly the whole of the apart- 
ment, with a table or altar before it, upon which flowers are placed, 
causing a sense of suffocation to be felt when the door is first 
opened. Like the temples of the Greeks, the walls are covered 
with paintings ; the style at present adopted in Ceylon greatly re- 
sembling, in its general appearance, that which is presented in the 
tombs and temples of Egypt. The story most commonly illustrates 
some passage in the life of Budha, or in the births he received as 
Bodhisat. The wiharas are not unfrequently built upon rocks, or 
in other romantic situations. The court around is planted with the 
trees that bear the flowers most usually offered. Some of the most 
celebrated wiharas are caves, in part natural, with excavations car- 
ried further into the rock. 

The images of Budha are sometimes recumbent, at other times 


upright, or in a sitting posture, either in the act of contemplation, 
or with the hand uplifted, in the act of giving instruction. At 
Cotta, near Colomho, there is a recumbent image 42 feet in length.* 
Upon the altar, in addition to the flowers, there are frequently 
smaller images, either of marble or metal, the former being brought 
from Burma and the latter from Siam. In the shape of the images, 
each nation appears to have adopted its own idea of beauty, those 
of Ceylon resembling a well-proportioned native of the island, 
whilst those of China present an appearance of obesity that would 
be regarded as anything but divine by a Hindu. The images made 
in Siam are of a more attenuated figure, and comport better with 
our idea of the ascetic. According to Hodgson, there are in Nepaul 
images of Budha with three heads and six or ten arms. Bishop 
Smith gives a lively description of the idol-manufactories in China. 
In one of the narrow streets of Amoy he entered an idol-shop, 
where idols of every pattern and quality were procurable, the prices 
varying from several dollars each to the low sum of six cash, equal 
to about one farthing. The licensed permission of the mandarins 
to pursue the vocation of idol-maker was visibly depicted on a sign- 
board in the shop. On another board was a notice that precious 
Budhas were there manufactured or repaired. A large number of 
idols, of every shape, and in every stage of manufacture, were lying 
around. Another idol-manufactory had the sign suspended over 
the door, "The golden Budha shop." These shops were to be 
seen at every quarter of a mile, and presented groups of images, 
some black with age and sent thither for regilding, and others 
gaudily painted and fresh from the hand of the artist. Some had 
stern visages ; some wore the expression of pleasure ; and all looked 
exceedingly grotesque.f 

In the court-yard of nearly all the wiharas in Ceylon, there is a 
small dewala, in which the bralimanlcal deities are worshipped. 
The persons who officiate in them are called kapuwas. They 
marry, and are not distinguished by any particular costume. The 
incantations they use are in Sanskrit ; but they do not understand 
the meaning of the words, and repeat them merely from memory. 
Europeans are not allowed to enter the dewalas, and it is difficult 
to ascertain the exact nature of the rites therein performed. In the 
sanctum are the armlets or foot-rings of Pattine,| or the weapons 

* Selkirk's Recollections of Ceylon. t Smith's China. 

X Alfred icquii-od Gutluum and the other Danish chiefs to swear on the 
holy rins, or bracelet, consecrated to Odhi, an oath which more than any 
other they were fearful to violate. 


of the other deities, with a painted screen before them ; but there 
are no images, or none that are permanently placed ; in some of the 
ceremonies temporary images are made of rice, or of some other 
material equally perishable. In some instances, as at Lankatilaka, 
near Kandy, the wihara and dewala are under one roof. 

The cave-temple at Dambulla is one of the most perfect wiharas 
now existing in Ceylon, and as it is also one of the most interesting 
spots in the island, the following description of it will not be re- 
garded as out of place. It is from the pen of Forbes, to whom the 
island is greatly indebted for the manner in which he has illustrated 
its early history and present antiquities. 

" The rock of Dambulla appears to be about 400 feet in height. 
On the north side it is bare and black. To the south its huge 
overhanging mass (about 150 feet from the summit) by some art 
and much labour, has been formed into wiharas. The ascent to 
them is over a bare shelving rock, except where the steep path 
leads through a patch of jungle, and the entrance to the platform 
in front of them is through a miserable gateway. 

" The wihara called Maha Dewiyo (supposed to have been built 
by the assistance of Vishnu) is narrow, and requires to be lighted 
by torches. It contains a gigantic figure of Budha recumbent, the 
statue, as well as the bed and pillow on which it reclines, being 
formed from the solid rock. The figure is well executed, and is 47 
feet in length. At its feet stands an attendant, and opposite to the 
face a statue of Vishnu, This long, narrow, and dark temple, the 
position and placid aspect of Budha, together with the stillness 
of the place, tend to impress the beholder with the idea that he is 
in the chamber of death. The priest asserts that the position and 
figures are exact, both in resemblance and size ; that such was 
Budha, and such were those who witnessed the last moments of 
his mortality. To favour this illusion, the priest takes care to 
place the few lights in the best position, and to keep the face 

" The front of the Maha Raja, and indeed of all the temples, is 
formed by a wall under the beetling rock ; and these sacred caverns 
are partly natural and partly excavated. The Maha Raja wihara 
is 172 feet in length, 75 in breadth, and 21 feet high at the wall ; 
but the height gradually decreases to the opposite side. The bad 
effect of this angular shape is in part done away by a judicious dis- 
tribution of the figures and their curtains. In this temple there are 


upwards of fifty figures of Budha, most of them larger than life ; 
also a statue of each of the dewas, Saman, Vishnu, Natha, and the 
dewi Pattine, and of two kings, Walagam Bahu and Kirti Nissanga. 
Walagam Bahu was the founder of this temple, b. c. 86. Kirtti 
Nissanga, after he had repaired the dilapidations occasioned by the 
Malabar , invaders, a.d. 1195, caused all the statues to be gilded; 
and so ornamented the place that it obtained the name of Rangiri, 
or the Golden Rock. There is a very handsome dagoba, the spire 
of which touches the roof at its highest part ; and in a small square 
compartment, railed in, and sunk about two feet below the level of 
the floor, a vessel is placed to receive the water which constantly 
drops from a fissure in the rock, and is exclusively kept for sacred 
purposes. The whole of the interior, whether rock, wall, or statue, 
is painted with brilliant colours, but yellow much predominates. 
In one place the artist has attempted to depict part of the early his- 
tory of the island, beginning with the voyage of Wijaya, which is 
represented by a ship with only the lower masts, and without sails; 
and alongside are fishes as large as the vessel. In representing the 
building of the great dagobas at Anuradhapura, the proportions are 
not better preserved ; and these artificial mountains appear to be 

little larger than the persons employed in finishing them The 

ornamental paintings, where proportion was not of paramount con- 
sequence, are very neat; and all the colours appear to be permanent 
and bright, although some have not been renewed for upwards of 
fifty years. 

" The Pass Pilama and two Alut Wiharas are formed on the 
same plan, but are inferior in size and ornament to the Maha Raja. 
In one of them is a statue of king Kirtti Sri, the last benefactor of 
Dambulla, and a zealous supporter of Budhism. On the rock plat- 
form, which extends in front of all the temples, a bo-tree and several 
cocoa-nut trees, have been reared, and have attained a great size, 
despite their bare situation, equally exposed to tempests, and to 
the scorching heat and long droughts to which Dambulla is liable. 
Near the Maha Dewiyo wihara, neatly cut in the rock, is a long 
Singhalese inscription of considerable antiquity, and on other parts 
of the rock are several inscriptions.* The summit of the rock 
commands a delightful view. ... It was once surmounted by three 

* These inscriptions are in the character deciphered by the late James 
Prinsep, a name that ought never to be mentioned by the orientalist without 
some expression of respect for his varied accomplishments, and of regret for 
his loss. 


dagobas, which have been crumbled down and been washed away. 
About fifty feet from the summit there is a pond in the rock, which 
the priests assert is never without water." * 

The author of this description possessed great facilities for giving 
an accurate account of the places here mentioned, as he was many 
years the agent of Government for the district in which they are 
situated, a respectable artist, and well-acquainted with the Sin- 
ghalese language. I visited Dambulla in 1829 ; and again in 1838, 
with my wife and infant, who were returning from Trincomale, after 
being shipwrecked on the eastern coast of the island. Upon my 
last visit I noticed a considerable difference in the brilliancy of the 
colours. When upon the summit of the rock, alone, I was sur- 
rounded by a tribe of white monkeys. By their antics and inces- 
sant chattering they appeared anxious to impart to me some matter 
of grave import ; but as it is probable that none of them were ever 
Englishmen in former states of existence, nor I a monkey, we could 
hold no communication with each other, and our interview led to 
no practical result. 

It is said that there were sixty-four sacred caves near the city of 
Anuradhapura, in the days of its Budhistlcal eminence. In several 
narratives connected with the history of Gotama Budha cave- 
temples are spoken of in such a manner as to induce the belief 
that they were then of common occurrence. The places that he 
visited are frequently said to be gal-lenas. In some instances there 
appear to have been monoliths, with conical roofs. Mugalan re- 
sided in a place of this description when beset by a band of robbers 
at the instigation of some rival tirttakas. The keyhole of the door 
was the only aperture it contained. The spots in which Budha and 
his disciples had resided would probably be first adopted as places 
of worship, when it became the custom to adore their relics. 

In the ancient legends the wiharas in which Gotama resided are 
represented as being extremely splendid ; indeed they are to be 
equalled only by the talismanic structures of the Arabian genii. 
One near the city of Sewet, the capital of Kosala, erected by the 
merchant Anepidu, is said to have cost 180 millions of golden 
masurans. From the remains yet in existence upon the continent 
of India, we are warranted in concluding that at an early period the 
temples in which the Budhists worshipped, and their priests re- 
sided, were of elaborate execution, and some of them extensive. A 

* The Ceylon Almanac, 1834. 


paper was read before the Royal Asiatic Society, Dec. 5, 1843, 
entitled, " On the Rock-cut Temples of India, by James Fergusson, 
Esq." This paper is inserted in the Journal of the Society, No. xv. 
and was reprinted, with some additions, in illustration of a work 
he published, containing views of the Ajunta and other rock-cut 
temples, in one volume folio. Nearly all the temples of this de- 
scription in India were visited by Mr. Fergusson. The whole are 
classed under the following heads : — First, wihara, or monastery 
caves ; the first subdivision of this class consisting of natural caverns 
or caves slightly improved by art ; the second, of a verandah 
opening behind into cells for the abode of the priests, but without 
sanctuaries or images ; in the third this arrangement being ex- 
tended by the enlargement of the hall, with a recess, in which is 
generally a statue of Budha, thus making it both an abode for the 
priests and a place of worship. By far the greatest number of 
Budhist excavations belong to this last division. The most splendid 
are those at Ajunta, though one at Ellora is also fine ; and there 
are also some good specimens at Salsette, and perhaps at Junir. 
The second class consists of chaitya (dagoba) caves, one or more of 
which is attached to every set of caves in the west of India, though 
none exist in the eastern side. The plan and arrangement of all 
these caves are exactly the same. Mr. Fergusson believes that the 
Karli cave, which is the most perfect, is also the oldest in India. The 
caves that do not come under these two classes are brahmanical. 

As it was stated that the paintings in these caves were rapidly 
going to destruction, the Court of Directors of the East India Com- 
pany issued orders that means should be adopted for their preserva- 
tion. In consequence, the Government of Madras has employed an 
officer of their establishment, Capt. R. Gill, to clear out the caves 
of Ajunta, to furnish full details of their construction, and make 
copies of the paintings. Fourteen paintings have already been 
transmitted from this interesting spot, and are now in the library at 
the India House. They are thus artistically described in the Athe- 
naeum, Feb. 3, 1849: — "The paintings, considered as the produc- 
tion of so early a period, may be regarded as objects of very high 
import in pictorial art. In many of them certain striking coinci- 
dences with Sieimese and Pisan art, under the influence of Byzan- 
tine taste, are to be remarked. There are the same diagrammatic 
manifestations of the human form and the human countenance ; 
similar conventions of action and of feature ; a like constraint in 


the choice of action and the delineation of form, in consequence of 
alike deficiency in knowledge of the human subject; and a like 
earnestness of intention and predominance of dramatic display. 
That these pictures were executed at distinct times and by various 
hands there is internal evidence. While however they oflPer such 
proofs of the progress of art, there is in some of them one quality 
too singular not to be remarked on. There is a compliance with 
the principles of perspective in architectural details in the very 
pictures in which these same principles are violated in the relative 
scales of the parts in the assemblage of human forms. The sense 
of light and shade, or the art of making figures obvious and clear 
at a distance, is found in these coinciding with the early Italian art 
before alluded to. The sense of colour is little more advanced in 
them than in Egyptian art, as made known to us through the me- 
dium of Rosellini, or than in most other aboriginal conditions of 
art. Assigning the date of these pictures to the period suggested 
by the author of the preceding memoir (a very learned authority on 
such subjects) it is at least remarkable that evidence of perspective 
should be found so very much earlier than the date of any existing 
specimens known in Southern Europe. The earliest examples of 
the application of perspective principles in Italian art date some- 
where about the middle of the fourteenth century." 

The temples of Burma are said by Crawford to be inferior to 
those of Siam, where the sacred edifices have the doors, windows, 
and roofs of richly carved wood. Whilst the Siamese temples are 
spacious buildings, much ornamented in the interior, the majority 
of the modern temples in Burma are mere masses of brick and 
mortar. But for every temple in Siam there are twenty in Burma ; 
none but the rich and powerful building temples amongst the 
Siamese, whilst among the Burmans it is a common mode of obtain- 
ino- merit, even with the inferior classes, who thus exhibit their 
respect for religion, rather than in endowing monasteries.* 

No wihara has recently been erected in Ceylon of durable ma- 
terial or imposing appearance. The enthusiasm of the masses in 
favour of the religion of their ancestors has passed away, and indi- 
viduals are too poor to be able to lavish large sums upon the 

Attached to one of the wiharas in Kandy, near the burial-place of 
the kings, there is an area which was regarded as a sanctuary under 
* Crawford's Embassy to the Covu't of Ava. 


the native government. The right of sanctuary agrees well with 
monastic pretension and principle. Matthew of Westminster says 
of the sanctuary at Hexham, " Now, if a malefactor, flying for 
refuge to that church, was taken or apprehended within the four 
crosses, the partye that tooke or laid holde of hym there, did for- 
feit two hundredh ; if he tooke hym withyn the towne, then hee 
forfetted four hundredh ; if withyn the walles of the churche, then 
six hundredh ; if withyn the churche, 1200; if withyn the doores 
of the quire, then 1800 besides penance ; but if hee presoomed to 
take hym oute of the stoone chair near the altare, called fridstol, or 
from the holie relics behinde the altare, the offence was not re- 
deemable with anie somme." These places were frequently com- 
plained of as a great grievance. Stow says in his Chronicle, 
" Unthrifts riot and run in debt upon the boldness of these places ; 
yea, and rich men run thither with poor men's goods ; there they 
build, there they spend, and bid their creditors go whistle them ; 
men's wives run thither with their husband's plate, and say they 
dare not abide with their husbands for beating ; thieves bring 
thither their stolen goods, and live thereon ; there devise they new 
robberies, nightly they steal out, they rob and reave, and kill, and 
come in again, as though these places gave them not only a safe- 
guard for the evil they have done, but a licence to do more." The 
vestal virgins were permitted to demand the release of any criminal 
they might meet accidentally in the street. The priests of Budha 
in Burma had until recently so much authority, that they even 
withdrew condemned criminals from the hand of justice. Capital 
punishment was a rare occurrence in the kingdom ; for no sooner 
did the priests hear that a criminal was being led to execution, than 
they issued from their convents in great numbers, with heavy sticks 
concealed under their habits, with which they furiously attacked 
the ministers of justice, put them to flight, and led away the culprit 
to their temple. Here his head was shaved, the yellow robe was 
put upon him, and by these ceremonies he was absolved from his 
crime, and his person rendered inviolable ; but they do not now 
venture upon these bold measures, imless they are sure of the pro- 
tection of the mandarins."^' 

The limits of the wihara, as well as of the places in which bana 
is publicly read, are to be defined by v. chapter. The form to be 
used appears in the Kammawachan. It is not a consecration, but 

* Sangermano's Burmese Empire. 


simply an appointment of boundaries ; an act of this kind being 
necessary in relation to all places where regulars are permitted to 
congregate. The consecration of churches began in the fourth 
century, and appears to have been connected with the jus asyli 
which was then claimed. It is a fitting rite when properly con- 
ducted ; but when the spot thus consecrated is regarded as a place 
in which the whole of the ministerial duty may be performed, or as 
conferring iipon the word preached, or the supplication presented, 
a power which it does not possess in other places, a consequence is 
produced that is in opposition to the extent of privilege conferred 
upon the church by Christ. The whole world, to its utmost limit, 
has been consecrated by the shedding of the Redeemer's blood ; 
and, as if in reference to the coming down of the glory that over- 
powered the priests at the dedication of the tabernacle, it is ex- 
pressly stated, that " all the earth shall be filled with the glory of 
the Lord." 

A glowing description is given in the Mahawanso of the conse- 
cration of a site at Anuradhapura, by Dewananpiyatisso, who began 
to reign b. c. 307. When the monarch was about to define the 
limits of a garden that he intended to devote to the priesthood, he 
approached the priests worthy of veneration, and bowed down to 
them ; and then proceeding with them to the upper ferry of the 
river, he made his progress, ploughing the ground with a golden 
plough. The superb state elephants Mahapadumo and Kunjaro 
having been harnessed to the golden plough, Dewananpiyatisso, 
accompanied by the priests and attended by his array, himself 
holding the shaft, defined the line of boundary. Suri'ounded by 
vases exquisitely painted, which were carried in procession, and by 
gorgeous flags, tinkling with the bells attached to them ; sprinkled 
with red sandal dust, guarded by gold and silver staves, the con- 
course decorated with mirrors of glittering glass and with garlands, 
and with baskets borne down by the weight of flowers ; triumphal 
arches made of plantain trees, and females holding up umbrellas 
and other decorations ; excited by the symphony of every descrip- 
tion of music ; encompassed by the martial might of his empire ; 
overwhelmed by the shouts of gratitude and festivity which wel- 
comed him from the four quarters of the earth ; — this lord of the 
land made his progress, ploughing amidst enthusiastic acclama- 
tions, hundreds of waving handkerchiefs, and the exaltation pro- 
duced by the presenting of superb offerings. Having perambulated 


the precincts of the wihara, as well as the city, and again reached 
the river, he completed the demarkation of the consecrated ground.* 
It is to be supposed that an atheistical system will pay little 
regard to acts of worship. The people, on entering the wihara, 
jirostrate themselves before the image of Budha, or bend the body, 
with the palms of the hands touching each other and the thumbs 
touching the forehead. They then repeat the three-fold formulary 
of protection, called tun-sarana, stating that they take refuge in 
Budha, in the Dharmma, and in the Sangha ; or they take upon 
themselves a certain number of the ten obligations, the words being 
first chanted in Pali by a priest, or in his absence by a novice. 
Some flowers and a little rice are placed upon the altar, and a few 
coppers are thrown into a large vessel placed to receive them ; but 
no form of supplication is iised ; and the worshipper goes through 
the process with feelings kindred to those with which he would 
irrigate his field, or cast his seed-corn into the ground, knowing 
that in due time, as a natural consequence, he will reap the reward 
of his toil. When special off"erings are presented, or a particular 
wihara visited, or a ceremony attended that is out of the common 
course, it is usually with the expectation of receiving some specific 
boon, which may be relative either to this world or the next. 
y The assistance derived from the three gems, Budha, the Truth, 
■ and the Associated Priesthood is called sarana, protection. The invo- 
cation of the triad is noticed by a Mahometan traveller in Tibet, who 
calls its constituents God, his prophet, and his word. By Remusat 
it is translated " Boudha, la loi et le clerge." A king of China, of 
the dynasty of Siang, once sent a present of all kinds of perfumes to 
a prince of Korea ; but the prince did not know for what purpose 
they were intended, until informed by a priest of Budha recently 
come to the country, who told him that they were to be burnt, and 
that if whilst they were burning any wish was formed, the triad to 
whom the perfume was grateful would cause the wish to be accom- 
plished. The king's daughter was at this time sick. The priest 
was therefore commanded to burn the perfumes in the proper 
manner, that her disease might be removed ; and as the ceremony 
had its desired effect, he was amply rewarded.f There are minor, 
perhaps essential, differences in the Budhism of different countries ; 
but the worship of the triad appears to be universal. 

The protection derived from the three gems is said to destroy 


* Turnoiu's Mahawanso, cap. xv. t Remusat's Relation, p. 43. 



I the fear of reproduction, or successive existence, and to take away 
' the fear of the mind, the pain to which the body is subject, and the 
misery of the four hells. The protection of Budha may be obtained 
I by listening to the bana or keeping the precepts ; and by its aid 
I the evil consequences of demerit are overcome. The protection of 
the dharmma is like a steed to one who is travelling a distant 
i journey. The protection of the sangha is ensured by a small gift 
' in alms or offerings. By reflecting on the three gems, scepticism, 
doubt, and reasoning will be driven away, and the mind become 
clear and calm. There is no other way of overcoming the evil con- 
sequences arising from the sequence of existence but by trust in 

When the king is worshipped, on account of his greatness ; or 
the teacher, on account of his learning, the benefit is small : but if 
any one worships the three gems, he will receive their protection. 
When any one is worshipped on account of relationship, or from 
fear, or from respect, there may be no wrong committed ; but by 
the worship of the three gems the benefit of the paths will be 
gained, and relief from all sorrow. The protection of Budha is 
denied to any one who goes near a dagoba, or other sacred place, 
and does not worship ; or to any oiie who, when in sight of a sacred 
place, or an image of Budha, covers his shoulder with his garment, 
holds an umbrella over his head, rides in any vehicle, bathes, or 
goes aside for any private purpose. The protection of the dharmma 
cannot be received by any one who refuses to hear bana when 
called for the purpose, or who listens to it in an irreverent manner, 
or who does not keep its precepts, or who does not affectionately 
proclaim its excellencies to others. The protection of the sangha 
cannot be received by any one who sits near a priest without per- 
mission, or who says bana without being appointed, or opposes a 
priest in argument, or remains in the presence of a priest with his 
shoulders covered, or holding an umbrella, or remains seated in 
any vehicle when riding near him. An offence done to one single 
■ priest is done to the whole association ; and he who transgresses in 
any one of these ways is guilty of disrespect to the tun-sarana, and 
can derive therefrom no assistance. 

There was an upasaka in the time of Anomadassa Budha, who 
was unable to become a priest, as his parents were blind, and he 
had to support them. But he received the tun-sarana from a cer- 
tain priest, by means of which he enjoyed eight blessings during 


many myriads of years ; never, in the whole of this period, being 
born in hell, but always in the world of men, or a dewa loka. 

In a former age, six hundred merchants set out by sea for a 
distant country, intending there to trade ; but during the voyage a 
storm came on, and they were in great danger. As one of the 
merchants remained fearless and calm, though the others were 
greatly agitated, they enquired whence his tranquillity proceeded ; 
and he informed them that previous to embarking he had received 
the sarana from a priest. He then, at their request, imparted to 
them the same sarana, and they repeated after him the formulary 
of protection in sections of a hundred. As the first hundred re- 
peated it, they were up to their ancles in water ; the second hun- 
dred, on repeating it, were up to the knee ; and the third hundred, 
nearly over head. The ship was lost, but the merchants were all 
born in a dewa-loka ; and through this repetition of the sarana 
received many blessings in future ages. 

A youth, after completing his education, was taking a large sum 
of money to pay his teacher for the instruction he had received ; 
but as Budha foresaw that he would be waylaid by a robber, and 
murdered, he seated himself by a tree near which the youth would 
have to pass, and when he came up stopped him, and taught him 
the tun-sarana. A little time afterwards the youth was killed, but 
as he was meditating at the time on the sarana, he was born in a 

The king of Sagal, on one occasion said to Nagasena, " You 
declare that although a man live in sin a hundred years, taking life 
and committing other crimes, if he thinks of Budha once when at 
the point of death, he will be born in a dewa-loka ; this I cannot 
believe. You say again that if a man only once takes life, and 
docs not think of Budha, he will be born in hell ; this also I cannot 
believe.'' Nagasena replied, " How so ? If we put ever so small 
a pebble in the water it will sink ; but a hundred yalas of stones 
may be put into a boat, and floated across the river without diffi- 
culty ; and it is the same with those who acquire merit." 

These legends, with the exception of the last, are selected from 

a work that is very popular in some parts of Ceylon, the name of 

which I was not able to ascertain. They bear testimony to the 

\ fact that the repetition of the tun-sarana is regarded as an opus 

j operatum tliat will be a sure defence against every calamity ; but it 




leads to the same evil consequences that are presented by all people 
among whom similar formularies are in common use. 

Although it is svipposed that image-worship received no sanction 
from Gotama, it is generally allowed that the worship of the bo- 
tree under which he attained the Budhaship was of very ancient 
origin. Near this tree the city of Budha Gaya was afterwards 
erected, which, from the vast extent of its ruins, must at one time 
have had a numerous population ; but it appears to have fallen as 
rapidly as it arose. When visited by Fa Hian, in the fifth century, 
it was completely deserted. A bo-tree flourishes at present at the 
same place, which is regarded by the Budhists as the very tree 
under which Gotama sat 5 but it is thought by European travellers 
to be not more than a hundred years old. In 1833, it was visited 
by two envoys from the king of Burma, who were accompanied by 
Captain G. Burney ; and a translation of the report they presented 
on their return, made by Colonel H. Burney, aj)pears in the Asiatic 
Researches, vol. xx. In the court-yard of nearly every wihara in 
Ceylon there is a bo-tree, which is said to be taken from the tree at 
Anuradhapura, brought over to the island in the beginning of the 
fourth centiiry B. c. as will afterwards be more particularly noticed. 

The authority to worship the bo-tree is derived from the follow- 
ing occurrence. At the time when the usual residence of Gotama 
was near the city of Sewet, the people brought flowers and perfumes 
to present to him as offerings ; but as he was absent, they threw 
them down near the wall, and went away. When Anepidu and the 
other upasikas saw what had occurred, they were grieved, and 
wished that some permanent object of worship were appointed, at 
which they might present their ofl'erings during the absence of the 
sage. As the same disappointment occurred several times, they 
made known their wishes to Ananda, who informed Budha on his 
return. In consequence of this intimation, Budha said to Ananda, 
" The objects that are proper to receive worship are of three kinds, 
seririka, uddesika, and paribhogika. In the last division is the 
tree at the foot of which I became Budha. Therefore send to ob- 
tain a branch of that tree, and set it in the court of this wihara. 
He who worships it will receive the same reward as if he wor- 
shipped me in person.'' When a place had been prepared by the 
king for its reception, Mugalan went through the air to the spot in 
the forest where the bo-tree stood, and brought away a fruit that 
had begun to germinate, which he delivered to Ananda, from whom 


it passed to the king, and from the king to Anepidu, who received 
it in a golden vessel. No sooner was it placed in the spot it was 
intended to occupy in the court, than it at once began to grow ; * 
and as the people looked on in wonder it became a tree, large as a 
tree of the forest, being 50 cubits high, with five branches extend- 
ing in the five dh'cctions, each 50 cubits in length. The people 
presented to it many costly offerings, and built a wall around it of 
the seven gems. As it had been procured by means of Ananda, it 
was called by his name. Budha was requested to honor it by 
sitting at its foot as he had sat at the foot of the tree in the forest of 
Uruwela ; but he said that when he had sat at the foot of the tree 
in the forest he became Budha, and that it was not meet he should 
sit in the same manner near any other tree.f 

The vastness of the ruins near Budha Gaya is also an evidence 
that the original bo-tree must have been visited by great numbers 
of pilgrims, and have been regarded with peculiar veneration. It is 
said that not long after the death of Gotama a number of priests 
went to worship this tree, among whom was one who in passing 
through a village was accosted by a woman as he sat in the hall of 
reflection ; and when she learnt whither he was bound, and the 
advantages to be gained by making an offering to this sacred object, 
she listened with much pleasure, but regretted that as she was poor, 
working in the house of another for hire, and had not so much as a 
measure of rice for the next day, it was not in her power to m.ake 
any offering besides the cloth she wore ; and this cloth, after wash- 
ing it, she presented to the priest, requesting him to offer it in her 
name to the bo-tree, that she might receive the merit resulting 
therefrom. The priest acceded to her request, and offered the 
cloth as a banner. At midnight the woman died, but was born in 
a dewa-loka, where she lived in the greatest splendour, arrayed in 
the most beautiful garments. The day after the priest visited the 
tree he retired to the forest, and fell asleep; when a female appeared 
to him, with many attendants, singing sweetly and playing the 
most enchanting music. The priest asked her who she was, and 
she said, " Do you not know me? I am the female in whose name 
you presented the cloth. Yesterday I was mean and filthy, but to- 

* Two days after Athens was bunit by the Persians, the olive placed by 
Miiierva in the citadel was observed to have ^rown a cubit, according to 
Herodotus, or two cubits, according to Tausanias. 

t Pansiya-panas-jatiika-pota. 


day I am clean and beautiful ; and this I have gained through the 
merit of the offering at the bo-tree." 

The Singhalese suppose that it is not now possible to visit 
this tree, on account of the savage nature of the country in 
which it flourishes. A certain queen is said to have found access 
to the spot, but she went to it through the air on a magical horse. 
It is thought by the Budhists generally that it is exactly in the 
centre of the earth. The Greeks had a similar superstition relative 
to Delphi, which they called umbilicus terrae. They said that two 
birds were sent by Jupiter, one from the east and the other from 
the west, in order to ascertain the true centre of the earth, which 
met at Delphi. When at Jerusalem, in 1833, I saw the Greek pil- 
grims presenting lights to a marble pillar in their own part of the 
Church of the Sepulchre, under the supposition that it stands in the 
centre of the world. Sir John Mandevil notices the same custom 
as being in existence 500 years ago. " And ther nygh wher our 

Lord was crucyfied is this writen in Latyn, Hie Deus noster 

Rex ante secula, operatus est salutem in medio terre ; that is to 
seye. This God owre Kyng, before the worldes, hath wrought hele 
in mydds of the erthe."' The Chinese also regard their country as 
the centre of a system, and call it choong-kuo, or the central 

The similarity has been remarked between the bo-tree and the 
aspen of Syria, with regard to the constant quivering of their 
leaves.*" The Budhists say that out of respect to their great sage, 
the leaves of the bo-tree " have always an apparent motion, whe- 
ther there be any wind stirring or not ; " and the Syrians " aver 
that the wood of the cross of our Saviour was made of aspen, and 
that the leaves of the aspen have trembled ever since in commemo- 
ration of that event." Near Belligam, a village on the southern 
coast of Ceylon, is the figure of a king, cut in the side of the rock, 
called Kushta Raja, or the Leprous King. It is not known who 
he was, but the tradition is, that he was struck with leprosy for 
having one day jDassed vmder a bo-tree without paying it the proper 

It is usual to plant a bo-tree upon the mound under which the 
ashes of the Kandian chiefs and priests have been deposited. Robert 
Knox tells us that it is considered an act of merit to plant one of these 
trees, as it is supposed that in a little time afterwards the planter 

* Bennett's Ceylon and its Capabilities. 


will be taken to heaven ; but he says that " the oldest men only 
that are nearest death in the course of nature do plant them, and 
none else, the younger sort desiring to live a little longer in this 
world before they go to the other." The same writer informs us 
of a ceremony that I do not remember to have met with during my 
residence in the island. " Under the tree, at some convenient dis- 
tance, about ten or twelve feet at the outmost edge of the platform 
they usually build booths or tents ; some are made slight, only 
with leaves, for the present use ; but others are built substantial, 
with hewn timber and clay walls, which stand many years. These 
buildings are divided into small tenements for each particular 
family. The whole town joins, and each man builds his own 
apartment, so that the building goes quite round, like a circle ; 
only one gap is left, which is to pass through the bo-tree, and this 
gap is built over with a kind of portal. The use of these buildings 
is for the entertainment of the women, who take great delight to 
come and see these ceremonies, clad in their richest and best 
apparel. They employ themselves in seeing the dancers, and the 
jugglers do their tricks, who afterwards by their importunity get 
money from them, or a ring off their fingers, or some such matter. 
Here also they spend their time in eating betle, and in talking with 
their consorts, and showing their fine clothes. These solemnities 
are always in the night ; the booths all set round with lamps ; nor 
are they ended in one night, but last three or four, until the full 
moon, which always puts a period to them."*' 

As the bo-tree (ficus rcligiosa) is dedicated to Gotama Budha, so 
the banian (ficus Indica) was dedicated to his predecessor, and other 
Budhas had also their appropriate tree. The next Budha, Maitri, 
will have the na, iron-wood tree. 

In the inscription upon the lat of Feroz Shah, near Delhi (with 
which the inscriptions at Allahabad, Mattiah, and Radhia substan- 
tially agree) no mention is made of any kind of worship besides 
that which is paid to the bo-tree. These pillars were erected by 
Asoka, who flourished in the 218th year of the Budhist era. These 
ancient records make it the more probable that image-worship is of 
more recent introduction. " It is tolerably certain," says Mr. Fer- 
gusson, " that the adoration of images, and particularly of that of 
the founder of the religion, was the introduction of a later and 

* Knox's Account of his Captivity in Ceylon. 


more corrupt era, and unknown to the immediate followers of the 

Few species of idolatry have been more common than arbor- 
olatry. It has been said that, among the Greeks and Romans, 
nearly every deity had some particular tree ; and that nearly every 
tree was dedicated to some particular god. It was under the oak 
that the Druids performed their most sacred rites, and the principal 
tree of the grove was consecrated with ceremonies of a description 
peculiarly solemn. The ancient inhabitants of Canaan appear to 
have been greatly attached to the sacred groves in which they were 
accustomed to worship ; and the Israelites were especially com- 
manded to destroy them. Perhaps the solemn gloom they pro- 
duced would have overpowered the minds of the Hebrews, and 
have led them to admire and venerate, and then partake in the 
idolatry ; or they might be used for abominations that the peojDle 
of God were to flee from as from the pestilence. Yet these gardens 
and groves were a snare to them, and drew them away from the 
service of the sanctuary. 

" When I had brought them into the land 
Which I swore that I would give luito them, 
Then they saAV every high hill and every thick tree ; 
And there they slew their victims ; 

And there they presented the provocation of their offerings ; 
And there they placed their sweet savom- ; 
And there they poiux'd out their libations." — Ezek. xx. 28, 

" On the tops of the mountains they sacrifice, 
And on the hills they burn incense ; 
Under the oak and the poplar, 
And the Hex, because her shade is pleasant." — Hos. iv. 13. 

It was declared by Gotama Budha to Ananda, in the legend in- 
serted above, that the objects proper to be worshipped are of three 
kinds: — 1. Serlrika. 2. Uddesika. 3. Paribhogika. The first class 
, includes the relics of his body, which were collected after his 
\ cremation. The second includes those things that have been 
erected on his account, or for his sake, which, the commentators 
say, means the images of his person. And the third includes the 
articles he possessed, such as his girdle, his alms-bowl, the robe he 
put on when he bathed, the vessel from which he drank water, and 
his seat or throne. There is another threefold division of the same 
objects. 1. Paribhogika. 2. Dhatu. 3. Dharmma. The second 


includes the same things as the first division of the preceding series ; 
and the third refers to the doctrines that Budha taught, the bana, 
or the sacred boolcs. All these are called chaityas, on account of 
the satisfaction or pleasure they produce in the mind of those by 
whom they are properly regarded. 

In nearly every place where there are evidences of Budhistical 
worship, the dagoba is to be seen ; in some instances rising to an 
elevation that has only one parallel among the works of man. The 
name is derived from da, datu, or dhatu, an osseous relic, and geba, 
or garbha, the womb. The word tope is not unfrequently used in 
the same sense, from thupa, a relic. "A tope," says Professor 
Wilson, " is, or has been, a circular building of stone, or brick 
faced with stone or stucco, erected on a platform, which has been 
built upon either a natural or artificial elevation. It is distinguished, 
according to Mr. Masson, from a tumulus, by having a distinct 
cylindrical body interposed between a circular basement and a 
hemispherical cupula. This is, no doubt, the case at Sarnath, and 
in most of the topes of Afghanistan. In the great tope of Manik- 
yala, however, the perpendicular part between the basement and 
dome scarcely constituted a perceptible division. At Bhilsa, Ama- 
ravati, and still more in Ceylon, time, vegetation, and decay have 
effaced these distinctions, and the tope occurs as a mound rising 
conically from an irregularly circular base. Steps usually lead up 
to the basement of the building or the platform on which it stands. 
It seems not unlikely that the cupola was crowned by a spire. 
Such embellishments usually terminate temples in Buddhist coun- 
tries, to which these topes are considered analogous, as well as the 
dahgopas, which present other analogies. They are also found 
upon what may be considered miniature representations of the topes 
which have been discovered within them ; and the Ceylon topes 
have evidently been thus terminated. Traces of spires are visible 
on the summits of the great mounds of Abhayagiri and Jaitawana. 
The dimensions of the topes vary considerably. Many of those in 
Afghanistan are small, and the largest are not of great size : the 
circumference of few of them at the base exceeds 150 feet, and their 
elevation apparently does not often reach 60 feet. . . . Many of the 
topes have yielded no return to the labour expended upon opening 
them ; others have been rich in relics. It is a curious circum- 
stance, noticed by Mr. Masson, that where these substances which 
appear to be the remains of a funeral pile, as ashes and animal 


exuvioc, most abound, the relics of antiquity are least abundant. 
The most conspicuous objects are, in general, vessels of stone or 
metal ; they are of various shapes and sizes ; some of them have 
been fabricated on a lathe. They commonly contain a silver box 
or casket, and within that, or sometimes by itself, a casket of gold. 
This is sometimes curiously wrought. One found by Mr. Masson 
at Deh Bimaran is chased with a double series of four figures, re- 
presenting Gautama in the act of preaching ; a mendicant is on his 
right, a lay- follower on his left, and behind the latter a female dis- 
ciple ; they stand under arched niches resting on pillars, and be- 
tween the arches is a bird ; a row of rubies is set round the upper 
and lower edge of the vessel, and the bottom is also chased with 
the leaves of the lotus : the vase had no cover. Within these 
vessels, or sometimes in the cell in which they are placed, are found 
small pearls, gold buttons, gold ornaments and rings, beads, pieces 
of white and coloured glass and crystal, pieces of clay or stone with 
impressions of figures, bits of bone, and teeth of animals of the ass 
and goat species, pieces of cloth, and folds of the Tuz or Bhvirj leaf, 
or rather the bark of a kind of birch on which the Hindus formerly 
wrote ; and these pieces bear sometimes characters which may be 
termed Bactrian ; but they are in too fragile and decayed a state to 
admit of being unfolded or read. Similar characters are also found 
superficially scratched upon the stone, or dotted upon the metal 
vessels. In one instance they were found traced uj)on the stone 
with ink. Within some of the vessels was also found a liquid, 
which upon exposure rapidly evaporated, leaving a brown sedi- 
ment, which was analysed by Mr. Prinsep, and offered some traces 
of animal and vegetable matters." * 

The dagoba of Sarnath, near Benares, is a solid mass of masonry, 
from forty to fifty feet in diameter, originally shaped like a beehive, 
the upper part having crumbled down. It is cased externally with 
large blocks of stone, well fitted and polished, and has a broad belt 
of ornamental carving near the base, which represents a wreath. 

The Shwadagon pagoda at Rangoon stands on the summit of an 
eminence, and is 338 feet high. In shape it is said to resemble an 
inverted speaking trumpet, and it is surmounted by a tee of brass, 
richly gilded, forty-five feet high. Its circumference at the base is 
1355 feet. It is the most ancient monument in the country, more 
than 2500 years having elapsed since its foundation was laid. It is 

* Wilson's Ariana Aiitiqua. 


said that underneath it are relics of the four last Budhas ; viz. the 
staff of Kakusanda, the water-dipper of Konagama, the bathing 
garment of Kasyapa, and eight hairs from the head of Gotama.* 

The height of the Budhistical monument at Manikyala, in the 
Punjab, from the summit of the artificial mound upon which it is 
situated, to the summit of the structure itself, is said by Elphinstonc 
to be about 70 feet, and the circumference is 150 paces. According 
to the same author, " some broad steps, now mostly ruined, lead to 
the base of the pile round the base to a moulding on which are 
pilasters about four feet high and six feet asunder ; these have 
plain capitals, with parallel lines and headings. The whole of this 
may be seven or eight feet high, from the uppermost step to the top 
of the cornice. The building then retires, leaving a ledge of a foot 
or two broad, from which rises a perpendicular wall about six feet 
high ; about a foot above the ledge is a fillet, formed by stones pro- 
jecting a very little way from the wall, and at the top of the wall is 
a more projecting cornice." Above this complex basement, which 
may be taken to be from sixteen to twenty feet high, rises a dome 
approaching in shape to a hemisphere, but truncated and flat near 
the summit. The greater part of the outside is cased with stones 
about three feet and a-half long, cut smooth, and so placed that the 
ends only are exposed. In 1830, General Ventura, in the service 
of Runjit Sing, sank a perpendicular shaft in the centre of the 
platform on the siimmit, and at various depths found repositories, 
one below another, at intervals of several feet. These contained 
coins of gold, silver, and copper, boxes and vessels of iron, brass, 
copper, and gold. The copper coins were considered to be some of 
those struck by the Indo-Scythian kings, Kadphises or Kanerkes, 
who are thought to have reigned about the latter part of the first 
and the commencement of the second century. There are fifteen 
other dagobas in the same neighbourhood, one of which was opened 
by Court, another officer in the service of Runjit Sing, and was 
found to contain a coin of Julius Caesar, one of Mark Antony, and 
none of a much later date.f 

The Nepaulese have a work entitled Dwavinsati Avadan, which 
contains an account of the fruits of building, worshipping, and cir- 
cumambulating the dagoba. At the base of the structure are placed 
images of the Dhyani Budhas. 

* Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. 

t Thornton's Gazetteer, art. Manikyula. 


The principal dagobas in Ceylon are at Anuradhapura ; and 
though time has divested them of a part of their original majest}^ 
they are yet most imposing in their appearance. The Abhayagiri 
was originally 405 feet high, being only about fifty feet less than 
the highest of the pjTamids of Egypt, or the dome of St. Peter's, 
at Rome, and fifty feet higher than St. Paul's, at London. Its eleva- 
tion is not now more than 230 feet. The wall around the platform 
upon which it is built extends to the distance of one mile and three- 
quarters. The Jaitawanarama, completed a.d. 310, was originally 
315 high, but is now reduced to 269 feet. It has been calculated 
that the contents of this erection are 456,071 cubic yards, and that 
a brick wall twelve feet high, two feet broad, and ninety-seven miles 
long, might be built with the materials that yet remain. The Tupa- 
rama exceeds the others in elegance and unity of design, and in the 
beauty of the minute sculptures upon its tall, slender, and graceful 
columns.*' Around two of the dagobas are rows of pillars that 
appear to have supported a roof, and before the dilapidation of the 
city the portico to which they belonged must have afforded a grate- 
ful retreat from the sunbeam, that in this vast plain seems to come 
down with unusual power. All the mounds in this neighbourhood 
have been built of brick, and covered over with a preparation of 
lime, cocoa-nut water, and the juice of the paragaha. This compo- 
sition is of so pure a white, and can be so highly polished, that 
when perfect the structures must have resembled a crystal dome or 
a half-melted iceberg. 

In 1820, a dagoba was opened in the Raigam Korle, on the 
western coast of Ceylon, by C. E. Layard, Esq., at that time col- 
lector of Colombo. The interior contained a small square com- 
partment of brick-work, mathematically correct in its bearings 
towards tbe cardinal points, and having in the centre, in a vertical 
line from the supposed position of the apex, a hollow vase of stone, 
with a cover of the same material. Within this receptacle was 
found a small piece of bone, and some thin pieces of plate-gold, 
which was probably used as the covering of a relic ; a few old 
rings, three small pearls, crystal and cornelian beads, small speci- 
mens of the white gircon, ruby, sapphire, and glass ; a small pyramid 
of cement, solid, a few clay images of the sacred naga ; and two 
lamps, one of brass and the other of clay, and similar to those at 
present used in Ceylon. f 

* Foibcs's Eleven Years m Ceylon. 

t Bennett's Ceylon and its Capabilities. 


By the Chinese traveller, Fa Hian, mention is made of a sacred 
mound at Anuradhapura, 122 metres high, covering an imprint of 
Budha's foot. He saw another mound in Kandahar, which was 
216 metres, or 708 feet high, and one at Khotan, in Tartary, 250 
feet high. Remusat, in his Notes to the Foe Koue Ki, enumerates 
eight principal topes that were in existence at the period of Fa 
Hian's travels. Tliey were situated at the wihara of Jetawana, 
one of the principal residences of Gotama ; at Kapila-wastu, his 
birthplace ; on the bank of the river Niranjara, near which he he- 
came a Budha ; at Benares, Kanoudj, Rajagaha, and Belle Ville, 
(Kalyana near Colombo ?) and at Kusinara, on the spot where he 

In the most ancient times of which we have any authentic record, 
\ subsequent to the deluge, the erection of structures bearing a rc- 
Isemblance to the dagoba appears to have prevailed. Without men- 
/tioning the ruin at Babylon, supposed to be the remains of the 
'tower of Babel, we may notice that there is a mound at Accad, 
Gen. X. 10, surmounted by a mass of brick- work, rising to the 
height of 125 feet above the sloping elevation upon which it stands. 
The ruin consist of layers of sun-burnt bricks, cemented together 
by lime or bitumen. Similar piles are found near many of the an- 
cient Babylonian towns. The mound near the ruins of Nineveh, 
called by the natives Koyonjuk-tepe, is said to be a truncated 
pyramid, with regular steep sides and a flat top. It was measured 
by Rich with a cord, which gave 178 feet for the greatest height, 
and 1850 feet for the length of the summit. The tomb of Alyattes, 
father of Croesus, consisted of a large mound of earth, supported 
by a foundation of great stones. This monument still exists. 
Hamilton says, in his Researches in Asia, that it took him about 
ten minutes to ride round its base, which gives it a circumference of 
nearly a mile. Towards the north it consists of the natural rock. 
The upper part is composed of sand and gravel. On the top there 
is a circular stone ten feet in diameter, placed there as an orna- 
ment for the apex of the tumulus. It was considered, in the time 
of Herodotus, as being inferior only to the gigantic edifices of Egypt 
and Babylon. — Herod, i. 92, iii. 343. Alyattes was cotemporary 
with Gotama Budha. The mausoleum erected by Artemisia to 
perpetuate the memory of her husband must also have been a 
monument of great splendour. It is worthy of remark, that three 

* Remusat's Relation, p. 179. 


of the seven wonders of the world were sepulchral in their cha- 

The ancient edifices of Chi Chen, in Central America, bear a 
striking resemblance to the topes of India. The shape of one of the 
domes, its apparent size, the small tower on the summit, the trees 
growing on the sides, the appearance of masonry here aud there, 
the style of the ornaments, and the small doorway at the base, are 
so exactly similar to what I had seen at Anuradhapura, that when 
my eye first fell upon the engravings of these remarkable ruins, I 
supposed that they were presented in illustration of the dagobas of 

No comparison can be formed between the Budhistical structures 
and the pyramids of the Nile, as to the effect they produce upon the 
beholder. The ajsthetical character of the Egyptian edifices would 
be entirely changed if they had been exposed to the common influ- 
ences of the atmosphere, and if, as is the case with nearly all the 
topes of India, trees were growing in rich profusion upon their sides 
and summits. In the neighbourhood in which I now reside there 
is the chimney of a cotton mill, circular, of considerable altitude, 
that gradually decreases in diameter from the bottom to the top. 
The foundation rests upon the ground, without any pedestal ; and 
there are buildings at a little distance, leaving an open space around 
it like a court. This column gives me, when seen from its base, 
and especially in some particular shades of light, a more perfect idea 
of the interminable than any other object I ever saw, though I have 
visited the pyramids, and seen many of the most remarkable edifices 
in the world. From this circumstance I have sometimes been led 
to suppose that if the pyramids were seen through the openings, 
properly arranged, of a portico similar to those that were originally 
carried round some of the dagobas at Anuradhapura, the effect 
would be much more striking than when viewed from any position 
in which they can now be seen. The unbroken lines of the pyramid 
agree well with the severity that prevails throughout the architec- 
ture of Egypt ; but any idea of the interminable is entirely foreign 
to the mind of the Budhist ; it does not enter into any one of his 
associations ; and in the sacred mounds by which he endeavours to 
present an objective manifestation of that which he regards as the 
most wonderful, the sight is relieved by the rounded form in which 
it appears, still telling of repetition and revolution, rather than of 
the limitless and infinite. The westerns, with their characteristic 


darlngness, have taken the dome of India and poised it in the air ; 
and as they have made it hollow, so that it can be seen from be- 
neath, an additional effect is brought out that can never be pro- 
duced by a solid construction. The Chinese, in their pagodas or 
towers, have retained the Budhistical type, but have adapted it to 
their own ideas of taste. 

The circumambulation of the dagoba is frequently mentioned in 
the books as being practised by the ancient ascetics. Among the 
Nepaulcse it is regarded as one of the most pious acts of Budhist 
devotion. According to Ward, the Brahmans regard the circum- 
ambulating of a temple as a work of merit, raising the person to a 
place in the heaven of the god or goddess whose temple he thus 
walks round. 

Any mark of disrespect to the dagoba is regarded as being highly 
criminal, whilst a contrary course is equally deserving of reward. 
When Elaro, one of the Malabar sovereigns, who reigned in Ceylon 
B. c. 205, was one day riding in his chariot, the yoke-bar accidently 
struck one of these edifices, and displaced some of the stones. The 
priests in attendance reproached him for the act ; but the monarch 
immediately descended to the ground, and prostrating himself in the 
street, said that they might take off his head with the wheel of 
his carriage. But the priests replied, " Great king ! our divine 
teacher delights not in torture ; repair the dagoba." For the pur- 
pose of replacing the fifteen stones that had been dislodged, Elaro 
bestowed 15,000 of the silver coins called kahapana. Two women 
who had worked for hire at the erection of the great dagoba by 
Dutugamini were for this meritorious act born in Tawutisa. The 
legend informs us that on a subsequent occasion they went to wor- 
ship at the same place, when the radiance emanating from their 
persons was so great that it filled the whole of Ceylon."^' ^ 

The Ncpaulese repeat mental prayers during the circumambula- 
tion of the dagoba, and a small cylinder, fixed upon the upper end 
of a short staff or handle, is held in the right hand and kept in per- 
petual revolution. f Fa Hian mentions that the Samaneans of Kie- 
tchha, a country that, according to Klaproth, has not been identified, 
used wheels, in the efficacy of which they had great confidence. 
These wheels are called in Tibetan, hGor-la;, in Mongol kurdou, 
and in Sanscrit chakra. In Tartary and the adjacent countries they 
are still much used ; and are supposed by Remusat to represent 

* Tiu-nour's Mahawanso. t Hodgson's Illustrations. 


the periodical revolutions of the universe ; but it is more probable 
that they are intended to exhibit the sequence of sentient existence. 

The reverence paid to the dagobas arises from the supposition 
that they contain relics. The miracles performed by the " holy 
bones" of the Budhas and their disciples vie in the absurdity of their 
character with the legends of the saints ; and although the errors 
elaborated in the time of the later fathers, and during the middle 
ages, present many striking parallelisms to the practices of the 
Budhists, the resemblance is here the most perfect. In the fourth 
century, when Fa Hian commenced his travels, relic-worshijD appears 
to have been universal among his co-religionists. The bones of 
Gotama, the garments he wore, the utensils he used, and the ladder 
by which he visited heaven, were worshipjied by numbers of devout 
pilgrims ; and happy did the country consider itself that retained 
one of these precious remains. In order to procure them, splendid 
embassages were dispatched, armies were collected, and battles 
were fought. Nor were the remains of Gotama the only treasures 
of this kind that were then possessed. One city is said to have re- 
joiced in the possession of the entire bones of Kasyapa, a Budha 
who preceded Gotama ; but the existence of relics so ancient is in- 
consistent with the system as received in Ceylon. The bones of 
Gotama were collected after his cremation ; * and the manner of 
their dispersion and their subsequent history is still upon record. 
The most celebrated relic now in existence is the Dalada, or left 
canine tooth of the sage. 

The natives of Ceylon believe that this relic is now in their pos- 
session. It is an object of worship to all Budhists, and by the 
Kandians is regarded as the palladium of the country, the sovereign 
power of the island being supposed to be attached to its possession. 
It is a piece of discoloured ivory, or bone, slightly curved, nearly 
two inches in length, and one in diameter at the base ; and from 
thence to the other extremity, which is rounded and blunt, it con- 
siderably decreases in size. The sanctuary of this relic is a small 
chamber in the wihara attached to the palace of the former kings of 
Kandy, where it is enshrined in six cases, the largest of which, 
upwards of five feet in height, is formed of silver, on the model of 
a dagoba. The same shape is preserved in the five inner ones, two 
of them being inlaid with rubies and other precious stones. The 
outer case is ornamented with many gold ornaments and jewels 

* Relation, cajj. v. note G. f T'hupa-wansa. 


which liave been offered to the relic ; and at night, when the place 
is lighted up by lamps, its appearance is very brilliant, far sui-pass- 
ing that of the British regalia, as I saw them some years ago in the 
Tower of London. In a work called the Daladawansa, composed 
about the year a. d. 310, in Elu, and translated into Pali verse by 
Dharmmarakkhita, in the reign of queen Lilawati, who was deposed 
A.D. 1200, it is said that Kheraa, one of the disciples of Budha, 
procured the left canine tooth of Gotama when his relics were dis- 
tributed, which he took to Dantapura, the capital of Kalinga. Here 
it remained 800 years, when the Brahmans informed Pandu, the lord 
paramount of India, who resided at Pataliputra, that his vassal, Gu- 
hasiwa worshipped a piece of bone. The monarch, enraged at this 
intelligence, sent an army to arrest the king of Kalinga, and secure 
the bone he worshipped. This commission was executed, but the 
general and all his army were converted to the faith of Budhism. 
Pandu commanded the relic to be thrown into a furnace of burning 
charcoal, but a lotus arose from the flame, and the tooth appeared 
on the surface of the flower. An attempt was then made to crush 
it upon an anvil, but it remained embedded in the iron, resisting all 
the means employed to take it therefrom, until Subaddha, a Bud- 
hist, succeeded in its extraction. It was next thrown into the 
conmion sewer ; but in an instant this receptacle of filth became 
sweet as a celestial garden, and was mantled with flowers. Other 
wonders were performed, by which Pandu also became a convert 
to Budhism. The relic was returned to Dantapura ; but an attempt 
being made by the princes of Sewet to take it away by force, it was 
brought to Ceylon, and deposited in the city of Anuradhapura. 
In the fourteenth century it was again taken to the continent, but 
was rescued by Prakrama Bahu IV. The Portuguese say that it 
was captured by Constantino de Braganza, in 1560, and destroyed; 
but the native authorities assert that it was concealed at this time 
at a village in Saffi-agam. In 1815, it came into the possession of 
the British government ; and although surreptitiously taken away 
in the rebellion of 1818, it was subsequently found in the possession 
of a priest, and restored to its former sanctuary.* From this time 
the keys of the shrine in which it was deposited were kept in the 
custody of the British Agent for the Kandian Provinces, and at 
night a soldier belonging to the Ceylon Rifle Regiment mounted 

* Forbcs's Dangistra Dalacla ; Ceylon Almanac, 1835. Tuvnoui-*s Account 
of the Tooth Relic of Ceylon; .Io\u-nal, Bengal As. Soc. Oct. 1837. 



guard in the temple, there heing from time to time public exhibitions 
of the pretended tooth, under the sanction of the British authorities, 
by Avhich the cause of heathenism was greatly strengthened and 
the minds of sincere Christians were much grieved; but in 1839 a 
pamphlet was published, entitled " The British Government and 
Idolatry," in which these untoward proceedings were exposed, and 
the relic has since been returned to the native chiefs and priests, by 
a decree from the Secretary of State for the Colonies. 

The Budhists teach, that they who, according to their ability, 
offer to the dagobas seats, flowers, lamps, or similar articles, with 
acts of worship, made with an affectionate mind, and accompanied 
by meditation, will be rewarded in this world and the next, and by 
receiving nirwana. On one occasion Gotama said to Ananda, 
" Though neither flowers nor anything else should be offered, yet 
if any one only look wdth a pleasant mind at a dagoba or the court 
of the bo-tree, he will undoubtedly be born in a dewa-loka ; it is 
unnecessary to say that he who sweeps these sacred places, or 
makes offerings to them, will have an equal reward ; furthermore, 
should any one die on his way to make an offering to a dagoba, he 
also will receive the blessedness of the dewa-lokas." This was 
declared by Budha previous to his dissolution, as he lay in the 
garden, between the two sal trees. 

The seat upon which Gotama was accustomed to sit when alive, 
came into the possession of a certain priest ; and there was asso- 
ciated with him an upasaka, who built for it a dagoba, in which it 
was placed. Near the same place was a priest of Iswara, with 
whom they had frequent disputes as to the superiority of their 
respective objects of worship. As they could come to no decision 
they appealed to the king, who said that the victory should be 
awarded to the priest who on the seventh day from that time could 
exhibit the greatest miracle. On the day appointed great numbers 
were assembled to witness the contest ; and in the presence of the 
multitude, the priest of Budha addressed the dagoba and said, 
"Budha has attained nirwana; the agra-srawakas (Seriyut and 
Mugalan) have attained the same state ; I have therefore no trust 
but in thee ! " In an instant the venerated seat came from the midst 
of the dagoba, and remained suspended in the air. The victory 
was therefore declared to be on the side of Budha. 

The dagobas, as erected in honour of the rahats, have some of 
them the power of working miracles, but not all. There are some 


rahats who previous to the reception of nirwana determined that 
such and such wonders shall take place at their chaityas. Some- 
times the dewas, out of compassion to men, cause wonders to be 
performed at the chaityas of certain rahats. At other times the 
faithful, whether women or men, present flowers, or perfumes, or 
robes, to a chaitya and determine within themselves that certain 
wonders shall be there performed; and by the power of this 
determination, the wonders take place. But in other cases the 
chaityas are not endowed with these gifts. 

When the Chakrawartti dies his relics are collected together and 
placed in a tope, and those persons who respect them and make 
offerings to them, will be rewarded ; they will either become 
a chakrawartti in this world, or Sekra in the dewa-loka. 
1 Another form of relic-worship is seen in the respect paid to the 
im^Dressions of Gotama's foot, called sri-pada. On the third visit 
of the sage to Ceylon, in the eighth year after he obtained the 
Budhaship, he left an impression of his foot on the summit of the 
mountain usually kno^vn by the name of Adam's Peak, 7,420 feet 
above the level of the sea, intended as " a seal, to declare that 
Lanka would be the inheritance of Budha.'"* In the same journey 
he left other impressions of a similar kind in different parts of 
India. The summit of the peak is annually visited by great 
numbers of pilgrims. The footstep is said, by Dr. Davy, to be a 
superficial hollow five feet three inches and three-quarters long, and 
between two feet seven inches and two feet five inches wide. The 
footstep of Budha is not the only one that has received worship. 
There is a lake called Kosah Nag, on the north side of Fuhti 
Panjal, one of the mountains bounding the valley of Kashmir, on 
the south. It is held in great veneration by the Hindus, who call 
it Vishnu Paudh, the foot of Vishnu, in consequence of a legend 
that the deity produced it by stamping the ground with his foot. 
It was said in the age of Sulpicius Severus that the footsteps sup- 
posed to have been made by our Lord at his ascension suffered no 
diminution in the sharpness of their outline, though they were daily 
the object of veneration to great numbers of people. When in 
Jerusalem, in 1833, I saw a chapel upon the mount of Olives, of 
an octagonal form, with small marble pillars, in the floor of which 
is a cavity said to be the print of one of our Lord's feet, left at the 
time he ascended from this place. The pilgrims take casts of it in 

* Sadharmmaratnak^rc. 

u 2 


wax. It has at present no resemblance to a foot, but may have lost 
the virtue it formerly possessed, and been worn away by the kisses 
of its deluded visitors. The other footstep was formerly shewn. 
It was an ancient belief that these marks could never be hid by a 
pavement or covered by a roof. There is a legend that when 
Augustine landed at Thanet, he left as perfect a mark in the rock 
as if it had been wax ; " and the Romanists will cry shame on our 
hard hearts," says Fuller, " if our obstinate unbelief, more stubborn 
than stone, will not as pliably receive the impression of this 

The soles of Budha's foot are represented as being divided into 
108 compartments, like a pictorial alphabet, each of which contained 
a figure. The Budhists of different countries have pictures of the 
sacred footstep, and as each figure is minutely described in their 
books, the representations are generally uniform. One of the titles 
of the monarch of Siam is, " the pre-eminently merciful and muni- 
ficent, the soles of whose feet resemble those of Budha." 

I have said, in the first chapter, page 5, that " at their death the 
Budhas cease to exist ; they do not continue to be Budhas, nor do 
they enter upon any other state of being." The inconsistency of 
worshipping an extinct being must be at once apparent ; but there 
would be no incongruity in the act, if it could be proved that the 
grand principles of Budhism are correct. This subject has been 
argued at length between Nagasena and Milinda, Not long after 
the monarch had embraced the faith of Budha, he said to the priest 
by whom his conversion had been effected, " The tirttaka unbe- 
lievers argue in this manner : — If Budha now receives the offerings 
of men, he has not attained nirwana, as in that state all cleaving to 
existing objects is destroyed ; he is still connected with the world ; 
he is yet existent (bhawayata-setulatwa) ; he is in the world, and 
has the same attributes as other beings ; therefore the assistance 
that he can render is imperfect, vain, and worthless. But if he has 
attained nirwana, he is not connected with the world ; he is not 
existent ; he cannot receive the offerings that are made to him ; 
there is therefore no benefit from presenting them, as he has no life, 
no being, aprana. None but a rahat can answer this argument of 
the tirttakas ; therefore be pleased, venerable priest, to set aside 
this difficulty." Nagasena replied, " Budha has attained nirwana, 
in which there is no cleaving to existence ; he does not receive the 
ofterings that are presented ; at the foot of the bo-tree, when he be- 


came a supreme Budha, all evil desire was dcstroj ed ; he has now 
attained nirwuna. Who is it that affirms that Budha now receives 
the offerings? Thus did Seriyut declare: — ' liudha receives the 
offerings that are made by dewas and men, but without any earthly 
cleaving, or desire towards them. This is the general practice, the 
universal law, of the infinite Budhas who have appeared.' " On 
hearing this the king said, " The father magnifies the son, and the 
son the father ; therefore this is not an argument that we can bring 
before the unbelievers ; each one praises his own ; be pleased, 
therefore, to bring forward some other argument that will convince 

!,he sceptics." Nagasena : " Budha has attained nirwana ; he does 
lot receive the offerings that are made to him by the people of the 
vorld ; nevertheless, those who make offerings to the relics of the 

Budhas, or listen to their bana, will receive the three great favours, 
viz : the hajipiness of this world, of the dewa-lokas, and of nirwana. 

Thus when grass or fuel has been thrown into a fire that has been 
kindled, is there any desire to receive them on the part of the fire?" 

Milinda : " The fire has no mind, and therefore cannot receive them 
on account of desire." Nagasena : " When that fire, that although 
it has no mind, receives the grass and fuel, is extinguished, is the 
world without fire ? " Milinda : " No ; any one who wishes to 
produce fire may do so by the friction of two pieces of wood." 
Nagasena : " Therefore they who say that no benefit can be re- 
ceived from the making of offerings to Budha, utter that which has 
no foundation in truth. Whilst Budha was in the world, the glory 
that he possessed may be compared to a brilliant flame ; now that 
he has attained nirwana, his passing away is like the extinguishing 
of that flame ; but as the flame receives the grass or fuel that is 
thrown into it, though without any desire on its part, so, althougli 
Budha does not receive the offerings of the faithful, the reward of 
those offerings is certain. For as any man may procure a flame by 
the rubbing together of two pieces of wood, by the light of which 
he will be able to carry on whatever work he has in hand, so the 
faithful, by making offerings to Budha, and reflecting on the excel- 
lencies of the dharmma, will reap the reward for which these exer- 
cises are practised. There is another comparison to which you 
must listen. There is a high wind ; it shakes the trees, and causes 
tliem to fall, and then dies away ; after thus passing away, is it from 
desire that it again returns ? " Milinda : " This cannot be, because 
it has got no mind." Nagasena : " Does the wind that passes 


away make some sign to the wind that is to come ? " Milinda : 
" No ; any one may cause wind by means of a fan ; when he is 
warm, he can cool himself in this way." Nagasena : " Therefore 
the unbelievers that say there is no benefit from the making of 
offerings to Budha speak falsely. As the wind spreads itself in 
every direction, so is the virtue of Budha everywhere diffused ; as 
the wind that has passed away is not again produced, so there is 
no reception of the offerings on the part of Budha. As men are 
subject to be annoyed by the heat, so are dewas and men afflicted 
by the threefold fire of evil-desire, enmity, and ignorance ; and as 
men Avhen thus annoyed cause a wind to refresh their persons by 
means of a fan or some other instrument, so are they assisted who 
seek the protection of Budha ; and the threefold fire is extinguished, 
although Budha has attained nirwana, and does not receive the 
offerings that are presented. Another comparison may be given. 
A man strikes the drum, and causes a sound to be produced ; the 
sound dies away; is it afterwards again produced?" Milinda: 
" No ; the sound has passed away ; but the same man can cause a 
repetition of the soxmd by again striking the drum." Nagasena : 
" In like manner, though Budha has attained nirwana, the benefit 
to be received from the making of offerings and meditating on the 
bana, is still certain. This benefit is gained, though Budha does 
not receive the offerings. Budha foresaw the things that would 
happen in future times, and lie said to Ananda, ' Ananda, when I 

I am gone, you must not think that there is no Budha; the discourses 
I have delivered, and the precepts I have enjoined, must be my suc- 
cessors, or representatives, and be to you as Budha.' Therefore, 
the declaration of the tirttakas that there is now no benefit from the 
presenting of offerings to Budha is utterly false ; though he does 
not receive them, the benefit to the giver is the same as if he did. 
Again, does the earth say, ' Let such and such trees grow upon my 
surface?'" Milinda: "No." Nagasena: "Then how is it that 
flowers, and buds, and shrubs, and trees, and creepers passing from 
one to the other, are produced ? " Milinda : " The earth, though 
itself imconscious, is the cause of their production." Nagasena : 
" Even so, though Budha is now unconscious, he is nevertheless the 
source of benefit to those who seek his protection. That which is 
the opposite of evil desire, enmity, and ignorance, is thus like the 
root of merit set in the ground ; the exercise of samadhi is like the 
trunk of the tree ; the doctrines of the bana are like the hard wood 


in its heart ; the four sangwara precepts are like the boughs and 
main branches ; the five forms of knowledge called wimukti, that 
reveal the way in which emancipation is to be obtained, are like the 
colours and perfume of the flowers ; and the fruition of the paths 
leading to nirwana is like the immortal fruit; and all this is brought 
about by Budha, though he has attained nirwana, and is uncon- 
scious. Again, in the intestines of camels, horses, asses, goats, 
cattle, and men, worms are bred ; * does this take place with their 
consent and consciousness?" Milinda : "No." Nagasena: "Again, 
there are ninety-eight diseases to which men are subject. Do these 
diseases come with their consent ; or do they say. Let these dis- 
eases come ? " Milinda : " No ; they are produced in consequence 
of evil deeds that have been performed in previous births." Naga- 
sena : " If that which has been done in a former birth can cause 
these disorders of the body, and is not without the power of pro- 
ducing consequences ; even so, though Budha has attained nirwana, 
and is unconscious, any service done for him may nevertheless re- 
ceive a reward. Again, Did you never hear of the yaka Nandaka, 
who struck the head of Seriyut with his hand, and the earth clove, 
and he went down to hell ? Was this cleaving of the earth brought 
about by the will and appointment of Seriyut ? " Milinda : " No ; 
this could not be ; the world and all the beings that inhabit it 
might pass away ; the sun and moon might fall to the earth, and 
Maha Meru be destroyed ; but Seriyut could not will the endurance 
of sorrow by any being whatever; the rising of anger would at once 
be overcome by the virtue he possessed as a rahat ; he could not be 
incensed even against his murderer. It was by the power of his 
own demerit that Nandaka was sent to hell." Nagasena : " It was 
even so ; but if this demerit, though unconscious, could cause the 
yaka to be taken to hell, so may merit, though also unconscious, 
cause those who possess it to be taken to a dewa-loka, and receive 
happiness. Thus, O king, when the tirttakas say, ' If Budha re- 
ceives the offerings of men, he is yet in the world of sentient being ; 
but if he has attained nirwana, he is unconscious, he cannot assist 
those who seek his protection ; and there is therefore no benefit to 
be derived from the offerings that are made to him ; ' their argu- 

* The presence of worms and other parasites in the bodies of animals was 
well knowni to Hippocrates, Galen, and the ancients generally. The skill of 
modem science has not yet discovered a cause for the existence of these en- 
tozoa that is considered as entirely satisfactory by professional men. 


ment is of no value, it is vain and deceitful." In this way the 
venerable priest answered the questions of the great king ; like the 
man who shakes the branches of the jamhu tree fifty yojanas in 
height, and succeeds in procuring its immortal fruit.* 

It appears wonderful that any being possessed of reason can re- 
ceive these comparisons as conclusive argument ; but they who 
know not the truth are led to believe "a lie," and no order of evi- 
dence is so well calculated " to hide pride from man," as the history 
of his religious practices and opinions. On passing forward to the 
hortatory usages of Budhism, we might expect to meet with some- 
thing of more practical utility ; but even here the beneficial effects that 
might otherwise be produced are nullified by the almost exclusive 
use of a dead language. The protestants of Christendom arc now 
almost the only religionists in the world who uniformly make use 
of the vernacular tongues in their public ministrations. 

It was an ordinance of Budha, that the priests, Avho were then 
supposed to dwell most commonly in the wilderness, should reside 
during the three months of the rainy season in a fixed habitation. 
This season is called wass ; and it is at this period that the priests 
read bana to the people. The place of reading, called the bana- 
maduwa, is usually a temporary erection, the roof having several 
breaks or compartments, gradually decreasing in size as they 
approach the top, in the form of a pagoda, or of a pyramid com- 
posed of successive platforms. There is one of these erections in 
the precinct of nearly all the wiharas ; but they are frequently 
built in other places, as may be most agreeable to the wishes of the 
people by whom they are erected as an act of merit. In the centre 
of the interior area is an elevated platform, for the convenience of 
the priests ; and the people sit around it, upon mats spread on the 
ground. No part of the rough material of the maduwa is seen, as 
the pillars and the roof are covered with white cloth, upon which 
mosses, flowers, and the tender leaf of tlie cocoa nut are worked up 
into various devices. Lamps and lanterns are suspended in great 
profusion and variety, the latter being formed of coloured paper, 
similar to those used by the Chinese at their festivals. It is 
accounted an act of merit for the people to hold lamps in their 
hands, or upon their heads, whilst the priests are reading. The 
impression produced by the scene presented in some localities is 
most striking, and forms the most magnificent sight ever seen by 

* Milinda Prasna. 


many of the worshippers. Tlie females are arrayed in their gayest 
attire, their luiir being combed back from tlie forehead and neatly 
done up in a knot, fastened with silver pins and small ornamental 
combs, in the arrangement of which they display considerable taste. 
The usual dress of the men is of white cotton, which the fullers 
have beaten upon stones and spread out in the air, until it presents 
a purity never seen in climes where the sun has less power. Flags 
and streamers, figured handkerchiefs and shawls, float from every 
convenient receptacle. At intervals, tomtoms are beat; the rude 
trumpet sends forth its screams ; and the din of the music, the 
murmur of the people's voices, the firing of musketry and jinjalls, 
and the glare of the lamps, produce an effect that is not much in 
consonance with the place of instruction or an act of worship. Not 
unfrequently there are skeleton trees, covered over with silver 
tissue, various ornaments resembling gems being pendant from the 
branches. They are said to represent the magical kalpa-tree, that 
gives whatever is required from it ; but there is this difference, that 
they receive rather than give, as their real intention is to receive 
offerings from those who come to worship. They have occasionally 
been covered with the leaves of tracts given at the festivals ; hung 
there in derision, but presenting one of the best modes of publica- 
tion that their distributors could desire. In some conspicuous 
place there is a large copper-pan, into which the alms of the people 
are thrown. The individual offerings are small, but when collected 
together they must form a respectable sum. 

At a bana-reading held at Pantura, in 1839, nearly 100 priests 
were present. The pulpit was placed upon a pivot, so that it turned 
round continually. At night fireworks were exhibited. An indi- 
vidual who personated a messenger from the dewa-loka was dressed 
like a chief of the highest rank. On his entrance he was guarded 
by two persons who were dressed like kings, with crowns upon 
their heads and swords in their hands. Another attendant, in mag- 
nificent array, rode upon an elephant, and a third upon horseback. 
Fifty men, in the uniform of British soldiers, continually fired 
volleys in the air. On the pulpit, around which stood the priests 
chaunting verses in Pali, were hung the official swords of eight 
native chiefs, and a gold medal presented to a native by Sir Robert 
Brownrigg, when governor of the island. 

The platform in the centre of the hall is sometimes occupied by 
several priests at the same time, one of whom reads a portion of the 


sacred books. The copies of the bana now used are beautifully 
written in large characters, upon the best talipot leaves that can be 
procured, with marks, to point out the conclusion of the sentences, 
made with some coloured composition. They are read in a kind of 
recitative, " in a manner between singing and reading," as it is said 
that the Scriptures were recited in the early church, which was also 
most probably the tone used by the rhapsodists and by the jong- 
leurs of the middle ages. This method is admirably adapted to 
assist the reader or reciter, as, when the eye does not readily catch 
the word, or the memory reach it, the voice can continue to dwell, 
by a shake or quaver, upon the last syllable, without the unpleasant 
sensation that would be produced if the book was read in the usual 
tone of voice ; as in this case there is no alternative, but either to 
repeat the former part of the sentence, or abruptly to stop. Upon 
some occasions one priest reads the original Pali, and another inter- 
prets what is read in the vernacular Singhalese ; but this method is 
not very frequently adopted. It is the more usual course to read 
the Pali alone, so that the people understand not a word that is 
said ; and were the advices of even the most excellent description 
in themselves, they would be delivered without profit to the people 
assembled. A great proportion of the attendants fall asleep, as 
they commonly remain during the whole night ; whilst others are 
seen chewing their favourite betle. As might be supposed, there 
are evidences of unconcern in that which ought to be the principal 
object of the festival ; but there is none of that rudeness which 
would be exhibited in a promiscuous assemblage of people in some 
countries that are much higher in the scale of civilization. Near 
the reading-hall there are booths and stalls, in which rice-cakes, 
fruits, and other provisions, and occasionally cloth and earthenware, 
are sold ; and the blind and the lame are there, with their stringed 
instruments, sitting by the wayside to receive alms ; so that the 
festival is regarded as an opportunity for amu.sement, as well as for 
acquiring merit, and answers the general purpose of a wake or fair. 
Whenever the name of Budha is repeated by the officiating priest, 
the people call out simultaneously, " sadhu !" the noise of which 
may be heard at a great distance ; and the effect is no doubt pleasing 
to those who have not been taught that it is in vain for the un- 
learned to say Amen, when they know not the meaning of that 
which is spoken. The readings are most numerously attended 
upon the night of the full moon, when a light is thrown upon the 


landscape in Ceylon that seems to silver all things visible, from the 
tiny leaflet to the towering mountain, and a stillness sleeps in the 
air that seems too deep to be earthly ; and were the voices of the 
multitude that now come forth at intervals other than from atheist 
lips, the spirit might drink in a rich profusion of the thoughts that 
come so pleasantly, we can scarcely tell whether the waking dream 
be a reality, or a vision of some brighter land. 

Now and then an individual priest becomes popular, either from 
the SAveetness of his voice, or the manner in which he explains the 
bana; but the eastern style of oratory is very difierent to that with 
which we are most familiar, as the emphasis, the intonation, and 
the whole manner of the speaker, so still and passionless, is con- 
trary to the method we should regard as alone calculated to arrest 
the attention or be impressive of the truth. A speaker of this de- 
scription has been well described by Dr. Judson. " I went," says 
this venerated missionary, " for the second time, to hear a popular 
Burman preacher. On our arrival we found a zayat, in the pre- 
cincts of one of the most celebrated pagodas, lighted up, and the 
floor spread with mats. In the centre was a frame raised about 
eighteen inches from the ground, where the preacher, on his arrival, 
seated himself. He appeared to be about forty-five years old, of 
very pleasant countenance, and harmonious speech. He was once 
a priest, but is now a layman. The people, as they came in, seated 
themselves on the mats, the men on one side of the house, and the 
women on the other. It was an undistinguished day, and the con- 
gregation was very small, not more than one hundred, . . . When 
all things were properly adjusted, the preacher closed his eyes, and 
commenced the exercise, which consisted in repeating a portion 
from their sacred writings. His subject was the conversion of the 
two prime disciples of Gaudama, and their subsequent promotion 
and glory. His oratory I found to be diff'erent to all that we call 
oratory. At first he seems dull and m.onotonous ; but presently 
his soft, mellifluent tones, win their way into the heart, and lull the 
soul into that state of calmness and serenity, which, to a Burman 
mind, somewhat resembles the boasted perfection of their saints of 
old. His discourse continued about half an hour ; and at the close, 
the whole assembly burst out into a short prayer, after which all 
rose and retired. This man exhibited twice every evening, in dif- 
ferent places. Indeed he is the only popular lay preacher in the 
place. As for the priests, they preach on special occasions only. 


when they are drawn from their seclusion and inactivity, by the 
solicitations of their adherents." * 

There are other objects of attraction at the bana-maduwa, besides 
the reading of the sacred books. A labyrinth is made of withs, 
ornamented with the cocoa-nut leaf ; and it is a source of amuse- 
ment to thread its mazes, and find the way to the place of exit. 
The Budhists of Arakan have a similar custom. In some instances 
lines are drawn upon the ground, in an open space, and dancers 
are introduced. These lines are regarded as the limits of the terri- 
tory belonging to different yakas and dewas ; and the last is appro- 
priated to Budha. One of the dancers advances towards the first 
limit, and when he is told to what yaka it belongs, he calls out the 
demon's name in defiance, uttering against him the most insulting 
language ; and declaring that in spite of all the opposition that can 
be brought against him, he will cross the limit, and invade the ter- 
ritory of its infernal possessor. Then, passing the limit in triumph, 
he acts in the same manner towards all the other demons and divi- 
nities who have had divisions assigned to them, until at last he 
approaches the limit of Budha. Still he professes to be equally 
fearless, and shouts defiance against the woolly- headed priest who 
carries the alms-bowl from door to door like a common mendicant ; 
but the moment he attempts to pass the limit he falls down as if 
dead; and as he is regarded as suffering the punishment of the 
blasphemy he has dared to utter, all who are present applaud the 
greatness of him whose prowess is thus proved to be superior to 
that of all other beings. 

The bana is usually read upon the days called poho. This word 
signifies change, and the festivals are held on the poho-dina, or 
poya-dawas, the days on which there is a change of the moon. In 
each month there are four poya clays: — 1. Amawaka, the day of 
the new moon. 2. Atawaka, the eighth day from the time of the new 
moon. 3. Pahaloswaka, the fifteenth day from the time of the new 
moon, or the day of the full moon. 4. Atawaka, the eighth day 
from the time of the full moon. The word waka means the thirtieth 
part of a lunar month. It is said by Professor Wilson, that " the 
days of the full and new moon are sacred with all sects of the 
Hindus ;" but according to Manu the sacred books are not upon 
these days to be read. " The dark lunar day destroys the spiritual 
teacher ; the fourteenth day destroys the learner ; the eighth and 

* Memoir of Mrs. Judson. 

XIX. MODES OF ■\vonsiirp. 237 

tlie day of the full moon destroy all remembrance of scripture ; for 
which reason the Brahman must avoid reading on those lunar 
days." — Manu, iv. 114. The ancient Britons called their week,* 
as do their descendants at this day in the Principality, wyth-nos, 
" eight-nights," and their fortnight, pythew-nos, " fifteen-nights." 

The people are informed that there will be great merit to the 
faithful laic who becomes an upasaka, from the keeping of the eight 
precepts upon poya days. These days must be kept with clean 
garments and with clean minds, or the merit will be inferior. The 
upasaka must remember on the preceding day that it is the poya 
day on the morrow, and must prepare the food that will be required, 
and resolve upon keeping the precepts. On the morning of the day 
on which the poya takes place he must eat his food, and then go to 
some priest or priestess, or to some upasaka acquainted with bana, 
or to some person who knows only the precepts ordained by Budha. 
When approaching such a person, he must do it with great reve- 
rence, and say, " It is my intention to keep the precepts." He 
must first rejieat the threefold formulary of protection, then the five 
precepts, and afterwards the one relative to elevated seats, making 
in all eight. When there is no proper person from whom to re- 
ceive them, he may repeat them by himself, without the assistance 
of another. When keeping poya it is not right to do any w^ork 
that will injure another, or to incite any one to do the same thing. 
Upon these days it is not proper to trade, nor to calculate the profits 
of trade. f "WTien in the house, the upasaka must eat his food in 

* Smith's Religion of Ancient Britain. 

t There were advantages connected with the observance of the Sabbath, at 
its primeval institution, that have not yet been fully brought out. Had 
this day been properly observed from the beginning, idolatry coidd never 
have existed ; and not only would a seventh part of all toil have been pre- 
vented, but sentiments of kindness would have been difhised, that would 
also have prevented the existence of all the severer forms of social and poli- 
tical misery. Take away idolatry and its consequences from man's history, 
and substitute a knowledge of the existence of God ; reduce the overt acts 
of human selfishness in the proportion that must necessarily have taken place 
if the Sabbath had always been rightly attended to, and what woidd noAv have 
been the position of the world ! Here is a glorious theme for the exercise of 
the imagination ; and I should rejoice to see it elaborated by some competent 

The sacred days of the heathen are much more strictly kept than is gene- 
rally supposed. "The manner in which all public fcriae (by the Il(mians) 
were kept bears great analogy to our Sunday. The people generally visited 
the temples of the gods, and offered up their prayers and sacrifices. The 
most serious and solemn seem to have been the feriae imperativae ; but all 
the others were generally attended by rejoicings and feasting. All kinds of 
business, especially lawsuits, were suspended during the pidilic feriae, as 


the same manner as the faithful priest, and afterwards return to the 
pansal to receive instruction, or he must in private reflect on the 
impermanency, sorrow, and unreality connected with all things. 

they were considered to pollute the sacred season. The rex sacrorum and 
the flamines were not even allowed to behold any work being done during 
the feriae ; hence, when they went out, they were preceded by their heralds, 
who enjoined the people to abstain fi-om working, that the sanctity of the day 
might not be polluted by the priest's seeing persons at work. Those who 
neglected this admonition were not only liable to a fine, but, in case their 
disobedience was intentional, theii- crime was considered to be beyond the 
power of any atonement ; whereas those who had unconsciously continued 
their work, might atone for theu- transgression by offering a pig. It seems 
that doubts as to what kinds of work might be done at public feriae were not 
unfrequent, and we possess some ciirious and interesting decisions, given by 
Roman pontiffs on this subject. One TJmbro declared it to be no violation of 
the feriae, if a person did such work as had reference to the gods, or was 
connected with the offering of sacrifices : all work, he moreover declared, 
Avas allowed, which was necessary to supply the lu-gent wants of human life. 
The pontiff Scaevola, when asked* what kind of work might be done on a dies 
feriatus, answered that any work might be done, if any suffering or injury 
should be the result of neglect or delay ; e. g. if an ox should fall into a pit, 
the owner might employ workmen to lift it out ; or if a house thi-eatcned to 
fall down, the inhabitants might take such measures as would prevent its 
falling, without polluting the fcriae." — SmitJis Dictionary of Antiquities, art. 
Feriae, by Dr. Leonhard Schmitz. 

Oiu- Saxon forefathers were equally mindful of the sanctity of the Chiis- 
tian Sabbath. "The church service was publicly performed (among the 
Anglo-Saxons) on every day in the year ; but it was only on Sundays and 
festivals that it was performed with "full solemnity. By the promulgation of 
Christianity, the Jewish religion with its rites had ceased to exist : the Sab- 
bath had been succeeded by "the Sunday, the day of rest by a day of worship, 
the seventh by the fii'st day of the week ; and we are told by the most an- 
cient writers, that the preference was given to the first day, because it was 
on that day that God began to fashion the earth for the habitation of man, 
on the same day that the Sa\iour by his resurrection completed the great work 
of our redemption, and on the same that the new law was published to the 
world by the descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles. This mstitution 
was of com-se introduced by the missionaries among the converts, who were 
taught that the Sunday was a clay sacred to the service of God, and that to 
devote it to secular employments, incompatible with such service, was a pro- 
fanation and sacrilege. Impressed with this opinion, the Anglo-Saxon legis- 
lature came to the aid of the church, and prohibited on the Sunday, not only 
aU predial labom- and every sort of handicraft, by which men of low and ser- 
vile condition were accustomed to earn their livelihood ; but also the field 
sports of hxmting and hawking, the dissipation of travelling, the sale or pur- 
chase of merchandize, the prosecution of family feuds, the holding of courts 
of justice, and the execution of criminals. The transgressor vmder any of these 
heads was liable to the pvmishments prescribed in the doom-book. If a clerk 
was convicted of working on a Sunday, he was adjudged to pay a fine of one 
hundi-ed and twenty shillings ; if a fi-ee servant, acting of his o\^^l wUl, to 
the loss of liberty, or a fine of sixty shillings ; if a bondman acting in the 
same manner, to be whipped, or to pay the price of his hide, which was ten 
shillings. In like manner, the lord who compelled others to labour paid a 
mulct of thii-ty shillings, and forfeited the services of his bondmen, who be- 
came fi-ee. One exception, however, was allowed in favom- of those^ who 
could plead a reasonable excuse for travellmg on that day. ' Sunday,' says 
the lawgiver, ' is very solemnly to be reverenced : therefore we command 


The being who even for a single day keeps the eight precepts 
will have greater glory than a chakrawartti, a reward that cannot 
be told. But though this is declared, it gives no adequate idea of 

that no man dare on that holy day to apply to any worldly work, unless for 
the preparing of his food ; except it happen that he must of necessity joiuney. 
Then he may ride, or row, or jomneyby such convenience as may be suitable 
to his way ; on the condition that he hear his mass, and neglect not his 

" From the exemption from labour thus granted to the working-classes, the 
Simday itself was called a freolsday, or day of fi-eedom, and the manner of 
keeping it, in conformity with the preceding rcgidations, the freolsung, or 
freedom of the Sunday. But the day was not then comprised Avithin the 
same hours as it is now with us. Our ancestors, like the Hebrews, made the 
evening precede the morning, and reckoned the Simday fi-om sunset on Satur- 
day to sunset on the following day. To these twenty-four hoiu's the frcol- 
smig was at first confined ; but at a later period, some time before the reign 
of Edgar, though probably no change had taken place in the ecclesiastical 
computation, the freedom of the Sunday was enlarged in favour of the work- 
ing population, beginning at the hour of nine on Saturday, and lasting till 
the dawn of light on Monday morning. 

" With respect to the religious duties of the Sunday, it was ordered by the 
Covmcil of Cloveshoe, that the clergj" should ' devote it to the worsliip of God 
exclusively ; that all abbots and priests should remam the whole day at thcii- 
minsters and chiu-ches, and celebrate the solemnity of the mass ; that they 
should shun all external engagements, all company of secidars, and all travel- 
ling not of absolute necessity, and should employ themselves in teaching 
theii- dependants the rules of a holy life, and of religious conversation from the 
Holy Scriptures, and that they should frequently exhort the people to repair 
again and again to the chvirch to hear the word of God, to receive instruction, 
and to be present at the mysterious service of the mass.' 

" The duties expected from the laity may be collected from the following 
injunction : — ' It is most right and proper that every Christian man, who has 
it in his power to do so, should come on Saturday to the chiu'ch, and bring a 
light vdili him, and there hear the vesper song, and after midnight the 
uhtsong, and come with his offering in the morning to the solemn mass ; and, 
when he is there, let there be no dispute, or quarrel, or discord ; but let him, 
with peaceful mind, during the holy office, intercede with his prayers and 
his alms (his offering) both for himself, with his friends, and all the people of 
God. And after the holy service, let hun return home, and regale Imnself 
with his friends, and neighbours, and strangers ; but at the same time, be 
careful that they commit no excess either in eating or drinking.' It was in 
the ' holy and ghostly kirk,' (the parish chui-ch, not any private chapel) ' and 
at the high and solemn mass,' that they were summoned to attend, because 
there and at that time they would hear the ' commands of God's word' ex- 
plained, and receive instruction in their resj^ective duties. ' "Wherefore,' 
it concludes, ' we command all men, whatever may be their rank, to attend 
at the high mass, with the exception only of the hallowed maidens, whose 
custom it is not to go out of their minsters : these should continue witliin the 
inclosurcs of their minsters, and there hear mass,' " — Linc/ard's Anglo-Saxon 

These extracts may be regarded as somewhat irrelevant ; but the reverence 
with which I regard the Sabbath, the anxious desire I feel to see its privileges 
every where extended, and the fear I entertain lest the circumstances of the 
times shoidd lead to a more general desecration of this holy day, must be my 
ajiology for their insertion, lire longest note in the work will not have been 
appencied in vain, if the example of the Roman or Saxon should lead any of 
my readers to pay greater resiDcct to " the Sabbath of the Lord." 


the reward that will be received by him who pays a proper regard 
to one single poya-day. This reward may be divided into sixteen 
parts, and one of these sixteen parts may be subdivided into sixteen 
parts again, and the same method of division may be carried on six- 
teen times ; but the last sixteenth will be more than that which has 
been declared. 

When persons are sick they send for a priest to read the bana, 
who is brought with much ceremony, and treated with great respect. 
The priest continues to recite the sacred word, until the invalid 
either recovers or dies. The tones in which it is chaunted produce 
a mournful impression, and by this means a spirit of thoughtfulness 
may be encouraged; but further than this there is no benefit, as the 
meaning of the words is not understood. 

There is a ceremony called Pirit, or in Pali Paritta, which con- 
sists in reading certain portions of the bana. As it is thought by 
the Singhalese, that nearly all the afflictions that men suffer pro- 
ceed from the malice of the demons called yakas, they have nume- 
rous ceremonies by which they suppose that their anger can be 
appeased, or their enmity rendered inoxious ; but the only one that 
professes to be sanctioned by Gotama is the reading of the Pirit. 
I was present on one of these occasions, in 1828, at a village near 
Matura. The discourses constituting the Pirit have been translated 
by the Rev. D. J. Gogerly ; '^' and from the description of the cere- 
mony given by that gentleman, to which some of my own personal 
recollections are added, the following account is compiled. 

About sunset numbers of persons arrived from different quarters, 
the greater proportion of whom were women, bringing with them 
cocoanut shells and oil, to be presented as offerings. As darkness 
came on, the shells were placed in niches in the wall of the court 
by which the wihara is surrounded ; and by the aid of the oil and a 
little cotton they were soon converted into lamps. The wall around 
the bo-tree was similarly illuminated ; and as many of the people 
had brought torches, composed of cotton and resinous substances, 
the whole of the sacred enclosure was in a blaze of light. The gay 
attire and merry countenances of the various groups that were seen 
in every direction gave evidence, that however solemn the professed 
object for which they were assembled together, it was regarded by 
all as a time of relaxation and festivity. Indeed the grand cause of 
the popularity of this and similar gatlierings is, that they are the 
* Ceylon Friend, April, 1839. 


only occasion, marriage festivals excepted, upon which the young 
people can see and be seen, or upon which they can throw off the 
reserve and restraint it is their custom to observe in the ordinary 
routine of social intercourse. 

The service continues during seven days, a preparatory ceremony 
being held on the evening of the first day. The edifice in which it 
is conducted is the same as that in which the bana is read upon 
other occasions A relic of Budha, enclosed in a casket, is placed 
upon a platform erected for the purpose ; and the presence of this 
relic is supposed to give the same efficacy to the proceedings as 
though the great sage were personally there. For the priests who 
are to officiate another platform is prepared ; and at the conclusion 
of the preparatory service a sacred thread called the pirit nula is 
fastened round the interior of the building, the end of which, after 
being fastened to the reading platform, is placed near the relic. At 
such times as the whole of the priests who are present engage in 
chaunting in chorus, the cord is untwined, and each priest takes 
hold of it, thus making the communication complete between each 
of the oflaciating priests, the relic, and the interior walls of the 

From the commencement of the service on the morning of the 
second day, until its conclusion on the evening of the seventh day, 
the reading platform is never to be vacated day or night. For this 
reason, when the two officiating priests are to be relieved by others, 
one continues sitting and reading whilst the other gives his seat to 
his successor, and the second priest does not effect his exchange 
until the new one has commenced reading. In the same way, from 
the morning of the second day till the morning of the seventh day, 
the reading is continued day and night, without intermission. Not 
fewer than twelve, and in general twenty-four, priests are in atten- 
dance, two of whom are constantly officiating. As they are re- 
lieved every two hours, each priest has to officiate two hours out of 
the twenty-four. In addition to this, all the priests engaged in the 
ceremony are c^lected three times in each day : viz. at sunrise, at 
midday, and at sunset, when they chaimt in chorus the three prin- 
cipal discourses of the Pirit, called respectively Mangala, Ratana, 
and Karaniya, with a short selection of verses from other sources. 
After this the reading is continued till the series of discourses has 
been read through, when they are begun again, no other than those 



in the first series being read until the sixth day, when a new series 
is commenced. 

On the morning of the seventh day a grand j)rocession is formed 
of armed and unarmed men, and a person is appointed to officiate 
as the dewadutaya, or messenger of the gods. This company, with 
a few of the priests, proceeds to some place where the gods are 
supposed to reside, inviting them to attend prior to the conclusion 
of the service, that they may partake in its benefits. Until the 
messenger and his associates return, the officiating priests remain 
seated, but the reading is suspended. 

At the festival I attended the messenger was introduced with 
great state, and sulphur was burnt before him to make his appear- 
ance the more supernatural. One of the priests having proclaimed 
that the various orders of gods and demons were invited to be pre- 
sent, the messenger replied that he had been deputed by such and 
such deities, repeating their names, to say that they would attend. 
The threefold protective formulary, which forms part of the recita- 
tion, was spoken by all present, in grand chorus. In the midst of 
much that is superstitious in practice or utterly erronious in doc- 
trine, there are some advices repeated of an excellent tendency ; but 
the Avhole ceremony being conducted in a language that the people 
do not understand, no beneficial result can be produced by its per- 

The folly of the priests in confining their public ministrations to 
the simple reading of the bana, or to the offering of exjiositions 
that are equally unintelligible, has caused the class of persons 
called upasakas, in some districts, and especially in the neighbour- 
hood of Matura, to go about from house to house, after the manner 
of the Scripture readers, reading works on religion that are written 
in the vernacular Singhalese, accompanied with familiar expositions. 
It is by this means that Budhism is in many places principally sup- 
ported. It would appear that in Nepaul there has been a similar 
transfer of the duty of teaching from the priest to the laic, as the 
Vajra Acharayas, who are there the most active ministers, are mar- 
ried ; and the extract from Mrs. Judson's Memoir, inserted above, 
would seem to intimate that in Burma also there is the manifesta- 
tion of equal negligence on the part of the sramanas. 



As the priests of Budha who lived according to the rules of the 
original institute were much in solitude, it was necessary that regu- 
lations should be laid down for their guidance when in this position. 
Accordingly, the Pitakas, as well as their other works, abound with 
advices that are only applicable to the circumstances of the recluse. 
The general character of these instructions may be learnt from the 
following translations, taken principally from the Wisudhi Margga 

There are five principal modes of bhawana, or meditation : — 
1. Maitri. 2. Mudita. 3. Karuna. 4. Upeksha. 5. Asubha. 

No one can enter aright upon the exercise of meditation who has 
not previously kept the precepts. But if there be any one who is 
thus prepared, let him, at the close of the day, or at the dawn, seek 
a place where he will be free from interruption, and with the body 
in a suitable posture, let him meditate on the glory of the Budhas, 
the excellence of the bana, and the virtues of the priesthood. 

1. Maitr'i-hJi&wand. — When the priest has arrived at a convenient 
spot, and placed himself in a proper position, let him exercise this 
wish : " May all the superior orders of being be happy ; may they 
all be free from sorrow, disease, and evil desire ; may all men, whe- 
ther they be priests or laics, all the dewas, all who are suffering the 
pains of hell, be happy ; may they be free from sorrow, disease, and 
evil desire." Then the same wish must be exercised relative to all 
sentient beings in the four cardinal points, all in the four half-points, 
all above and all below, taking each of these ten directions sepa- 
rately and in order ; or if they cannot be taken separately, it will 
suffice if this wish be exercised : " May all beings be happy ; may 
they all be free from sorrow, disease, and pain." This is maitri- 
bhawana, or the meditation of kindness. Maitri is the same as 
sneha, afFection, and, according to the grammarians, sneha is the 
opposite of krodha, hatred. Maitri and krodha cannot exist toge- 
ther. It is not the affection of trishna, or mere passion ; of this 
kind of sneha, moha or ignorance is the cause, which leads to evil 
desire. In the sneha of maitri there is no evil desire ; it is that 
which one friend feels for another. 

In the exercise of this mode of bhawana, the thoughts must not 
at first be fixed upon one whom the priest dislikes ; nor on any 
particular friend ; nor on any one that is indifferent to him, neither 

R 2 


liked nor disliked ; nor on any enemy (as by thinking of any person 
who is known, the mind will be more or less disturbed.) The 
thoughts must not at this time be fixed upon any individual in par- 
ticular, nor on any one that is dead. There was a young priest who 
exercised maitri-bhawana upon his preceptor, but he did not arrive 
at nimitta (the interior illumination for the acquiring of which he 
entered upon the exercise.) He therefore went to another priest, 
and asked him how it was that he could not arrive at nimitta. The 
priest replied that he must first ascertain whether the person upon 
whom he meditated was alive or dead, as no nimitta could be re- 
ceived when maitri-bhawana was exercised for the dead. 

The first meditation of the priest must be on himself ; * " may I 
be free from sorrow, anger, and evil desire ; " thus he must think. 
But by this exercise alone no one can arrive at samadhi, or perfect 
tranquillity of mind, even if practised a hundred years. He must 
therefore go on to desire that what he has wished to receive himself 
may be granted to all sentient beings ; and that what he has wished 
to be warded from himself may be warded from all sentient beings. 
After this he may endeavour to exercise maitri-bhawana upon his 

The man that is your enemy thinks of you in this way. If you 
are of a disagreeable person, sick or sorrowful, poor, mean, and 
friendless, he rejoices. He is again delighted if in the other world 
you are not in a place of happiness ; and he does all he can to in- 
jure you. Enmity is like a shed in a place of sepulture, on fire at 
both ends, and in the middle filled with the dung of dogs and 
jackalls ; such a place is utterly worthless ; people do not approach 
it to take either fire or fuel. He who indulges in enmity cannot 
practise the precepts, and that which he wishes for others will recoil 
upon himself. 

When the priest finds it difficult to exercise the meditation of 
kindness upon his enemy, he must think that when the words are 
bad, the actions are sometimes good; that when the words and 
actions are bad, the mind is sometimes good ; and that when the 
mind and actions are bad, the words are sometimes good. Again, 
if his enemy have only a few things about him that are good, and 
many that are bad, he must think of the good alone, and forget the 

* It is said in the Angotra-atuwawa that the fii-st exercise of the priest 
must be upon his enemy, then upon a person in misfortune, afterwards upon 
a friend, and lastly upon himself; but it is said in the Wisudhi-Margga- 
Sanne that this is contrary to the Pali text, and cannot therefore be correct. 


bad entirely. But if he be till bud, and have notiiing good, the prit st 
must think of the misery he will have to endure in the other world, 
w'hilst suffering for many ages the pains of hell. By this means 
sympathy will be produced. When the three, the mind, the words, 
and the actions are all good, there can be no difficulty in the exer- 
cise. And when the priest is still unable to accomplish the exer- 
cise, he must think further of the consequences of enmity. If the 
principle be indulged in, it will prevent him from being born in a 
brahma-loka, and from becoming Sekra or a chakrawartti ; if he 
should be born among men he will have to live on ofFal thrown away 
from the houses of the rich ; or he will be born in hell. He who 
indulges in enmity is like one who throws ashes to windward, which 
come back to the same place and cover him all over.* 

Should this exercise prove ineffectual, the priest must reflect on 
what is said in the Anamatagra-sutra. All persons have had in 
previous births parents, children, brothers, sisters, and other near 
relatives. The priest must think that the person with whom he is 
at enmity may^ have been one of them, and may have toiled for his 
benefit in various ways. By this means his enmity will be over- 

But if the enmity still continues, he must call to remembrance 
what are the rewards of aflfection. He who possesses it will gain 
respect ; he w'ill not have unpleasant dreams ; nor be in any danger 
from fire, poison, or weapons ; he will have a pleasant countenance, 
and will not lose possession of his senses when about to die ; and if 
not a rahat, he will be born in a brahma-loka. 

And if all these reflections are insufficient, the priest must think, 
"■ What am I at enmity with ? is it with the hair, or with the bones, 
or with what ? " Thus his hatred will have nothing upon which to 
fasten ; even as nothing can be placed upon the mustard-seed, or 
painted upon the air. 

There is yet one more expedient. The priest must give some- 
thing to the person with whom he is at enmity, or must receive 
something from him, if he is willing to give it ; and in this manner, 
even should the enmity have existed from previous ages, it will be 
overcome. There was a priest in the Situlpaw wihara Avho was three 
times expelled, but he was unwilling to leave. After all he said to 
the principal priest, " My mother, an upasikawa, gave me this alms- 

* There is a common sayinj^ among Englisli sailors that nothing ought to 
be thrown to windward but ashes and hot w ater. 


bowl ; the value of it is eight kahawanas ; I obtained it in a proper 
manner ; and I now present it to your reverence." The superior 
priest received it, and by this means his enmity was appeased. The 
giving of alms is a blessing to him who receives as well as to him 
who gives, but the receiver is inferior to the giver. 

The priest who exercises maitri-bhawana must have equal affec- 
tion for himself, his friend, the person who is indifferent to him, and 
his enemy. Were a man to come to the priest with whom the 
others associated, and say that he must have one of the four to offer 
in sacrifice, he must not ask for a moment who is to be given up ; 
he must at once offer himself as the victim. 

The exercise of maitri-bhawana is agreeable to the dewas, even 
as the attention of the child who ministers to his parents, and in all 
things assists them. It will ward off danger. Whilst a cow was 
giving suck to its calf, a hunter tried to pierce it with a javelin, but 
his efforts were in vain ; he could not take its life. It was not by 
the power of samadhi, or any other attainment, that this took place; 
it was from the affection manifested towards its offspring at the 
moment ; and in this way may be learnt the greatness of the medi- 
tation of kindness. 

In the exercise of maitri-bhawana, if the priest sees any one that 
is in distress, he must wish that his misfortunes may be removed ; 
but if he sees no one of this description, he may reflect that any 
person whatever whom he meets must suffer in consequence of his 
transgressions, and must then wish that his sufferings may be re- 
moved. As the man led out to execution is pitied by the people, 
who bring him food, liquor, and betle, and he appears like a man 
enjoying himself, though every step he takes brings him nearer to 
death ; such, the priest must think, is the situation of all men ; they 
now appear to be prosperous, but it is only for a moment ; the day 
of misfortune will most certainly come. 

\ 2. Karund-hhdwand.—h\ the practice of this mode of meditation 
the priest must exercise the wish, " May the poor be relieved from 
their indigence, and receive abundance." This is karuna-bhawana, 
or the meditation of pity. Karuna is thus produced. When we 
see any object in distress, we feel kampawima, agitation, in the 
mind ; and from this arises karuna, pity or compassion. It is said 
in the tikawa that Avhen we see distress of any kind, we feel the 
wish to relieve it ; and this feeling is karuna. 

3. Mudita-hhdivand.—lw the exercise of this mode of meditation 


the priest must express the wish, " May the good fortune of the 
prosperous never pass away ; may each one receive his own ap- 
pointed reward." This is mudita-bhawana, or the meditation of 
joy. The principal meaning of mudita is joy, but it is not the joy 
arising from earthly possessions. It feels indifferent to individuals, 
and refers to all sentient beings. It is allied to both maitri and 

As the husbandman first portions out a certain plot of ground, 
and then ploughs it, so the priest who exercises any of the above 
three modes of meditation may first direct his attention to a certain 
number of persons, then to the inhabitants of a street, and so on in 
order to the whole vilLige, the kingdom, the sakwala, and the outer 

4. Asuhha-hhdwdnd. — The principal meaning of the word asubha 
is inauspicious, that which is the opposite of good fortune, or that 
which produces dissatisfaction, aversion, and disgust. In this ex- 
ercise the priest must reflect that the body is composed of thirty- 
two impurities ; that as the w^orm is bred in the dunghill, so it is 
conceived in the womb ; that it is the receptacle of filth, like the 
privy ; that disgusting secretions are continually proceeding from 
its nine apertures ; and that, like the drain into which all kinds of 
refuse are thrown, it sends forth an ofiensive smell. This is asubha- 

The body exists only for a moment ; it is no sooner born than it 
is destroyed ; it is like the flash of the lightning as it passes through 
the sky; like the foam ; like a grain of salt thrown into water, or 
fire among dry straw, or a wave of the sea, or a flame trembling in 
the wind, or the dew upon the grass. He who exercises bhawana 
must reflect upon these comparisons, and learn that thus imperma- 
nent is the body. 

By a continued repetition of birth and death, the sentient being 
is subject to constant suff"ering ; he is thus like a worm in the 
midst of a nest of ants ; like a lizard in the hollow of a bamboo 
that is burning at both ends ; like a living carcase bereft of hands 
and feet and thrown upon the sand; and like an infant that because 
it cannot be brought forth, is cut from the womb piecemeal. He 
who exercises this mode of bhawana must think of these compari- 
sons, and of others that are similar, and remember that their appli- 
cation is universal. These are the signs connected with dukha, 
sorrow, or suffering. 


The body is unreal, even as the mh-age that appears in the sun- 
shine, or a painted picture, or a mere machine, or food seen in a 
dream, or lightning dancing in the sky, or the course of an arrow 
shot from a bow. He who exercises bhawana must reflect on these 
comparisons, that in like manner the body is unreal. These are the 
signs called anata. 

The three reflections on the impermanency, suff'ering, and un- 
reality of the body are as the gates leading to the city of nirwana. 

The ascetic who would practice asubha-bhawana must apply to 
some one who is able to instruct him, vvho must take him to the 
cemetery, and point out to him the off"ensive parts of a dead body ; 
but if he hears that there is a body in the forest, he must not go 
there, as he may be in danger from the wild beasts that are attracted 
to the same spot ; nor must he go to any place that is very public, 
as in such a spot his mind would be distracted by the various scenes 
that he would witness, and he would meet with women. A man 
must not meditate on the body of a woman, nor a woman on the 
body of a man. When about to leave the wihara, he must inform 
the superior priest of his intention, as in the place where the body 
is deposited there will be noises from yakas and wild beasts, and he 
may become so much afraid as to be sick. The superior priest will 
see that his alms-bowl and other utensils are taken care of during 
his absence. There is another reason why he should give notice of 
this intention. The cemetery is a place resorted to by robbers, and 
when they are chased they might throw down their stolen articles 
near the place where the priest was meditating ; and when the 
people come in pursuit and see the articles near him, they might 
accuse him of the theft ; thus he might be exposed to much trouble. 
But if the superior priest could afiirm that he went to meditate, he 
would be freed from suspicion at once. He must go to the place of 
meditation with joy ; as a king goes to the hall where he is to be 
anointed, or a brahman to the yaga sacrifice, or a poor man to the 
place where there is hidden treasure. He may take with him a 
staff to drive away dogs and wild beasts. In the exercise, he must 
turn his eyes and ears inward, and must not allow them to wander 
after anything that is without, save that he must remember the 
direction in which he came. In approaching the body he must not 
come from the leeward, or he may be overpowered by the smell, and 
his mind will become confused ; but if there be in the other direc- 
tion any rock, fence, water, or other hinderance, he may approach 


the body from the leeward, provided he cover his nostrils with the 
corner of his robe. In fixing his eyes on the body he nxust look 
athwart the course of the wind ; he must not stand near the head 
or the feet, but opposite the abdomen ; not too near, or he may be 
afraid, nor too far off, or the offensive properties will not rightly 
appear. He must meditate on the colour of the body : its sex, age, 
and different members, joints, and properties ; that this is the head, 
this the abdomen, and that these are the feet ; and he must pass in 
order to the different parts of the body, and number every joint, 
from the foot to the head. Thus, in relation to the hair of the 
head, the following reflections must be made : — " It is different to 
all other parts of the body, even to the hau- that grows in other 
places ; it is in every respect impure; when not regularly cleaned, 
it becomes offensive ; and when thrown into the fire it sends forth 
a disagreeable smell." Fixing his eyes on the body, he must think a 
hundred and a thousand times on its ofiensiveness : that it is like a has 
filled with wind, a mass of impurity ; and that none of its excretions 
can be taken in the hand. And at times he must shut his eyes and 
think inwardly and intensely on the same subjects. All dead bodies 
are alike ; the body of the king cannot be distinguished from that 
of the outcaste, nor the body of the outcaste from that of the king. 

5, Upekshd-bhdivand. — In the exercise of this mode of bhawana all 
sentient beings are regarded alike, one is not loved more than ano- 
ther nor hated more than another ; towards all there is indifference. 
This exercise is superior to all the others, and is practised by the 
rahats. This is upeksha-bhawana, or the meditation of equa- 

The four modes of meditation, maitri, karuna, mudita, and upek- 
sha, are called Brahma- wihara-bhawana, on account of their supe- 
riority. They are practised by Maha Brahma. 

The difference in these four modes is thus illustrated. There is 
a mother who has four sons, all of whom she regards, but in a 
difi'erent manner. The first is a child, the second sick, the third a 
youth, and the fourth a grown-up man. The mother loves the first 
because he is the little one ; she pities the second, and administers 
to him medicine ; and she rejoices in the promise and circumstances 
of the third ; but about the fourth she cares comparatively little, as 
he is able to provide for his own wants. 

In these exercisscs of meditation, taken from the Saleyya Sutra 
Sanne and the Wisudhi Murgga Sanne, there are many sentiments 


that are worthy of praise ; but the wishes of the recluse are of no 
real value, as they lead to no practical effort of humanity. They 
remind us of what has been said by St. James. " If a brother or 
sister be naked, and destitute of daily food; and one of you say 
unto them, depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled ; notwith- 
standing ye give them not those things which are needful to the 
body, what doth it profit ? " Yet the priests of Ceylon pride them- 
\ selves upon the exercise of karuna-bhawana, and suppose that it 
gives them a superiority of excellence to the messengers of the 
cross ; but the Christian does what the Budhist only wishes to be 

The loathsomeness of the body is a common topic of illustration 
among the sages of India. They present it under the most disgust- 
ing associations, in an imagery as varied as it is extensive. " The 
body," says Gotama, " is covered with skin, humid and filthy ; from 
its nine apertures, the secretions are continually exuded ; because 
its offensiveness cannot be taken away, it is like an incurable 
Avound ; the wise regard it as a lump of excrement ; it sends forth 
continually a disagreeable odour; and at last it turns into a mass of 
putridity and corruption." * The sage had two sisters who were 
vain of their beauty ; but he caused the image of a most beautiful 
maiden to appear to them, which excited their envy. Then he 
caused her in an instant to become wrinkled, her teeth to fall out 
and hair to become grey, on seeing which their vanity passed away. 
Upon another occasion, when a priest had formed a criminal pas- 
sion for a woman, who soon afterwards died, Gotama caused the 
body to be kept until it became putrid. He then said to his fol- 
lowers : — " Man, when he is alive, can move himself and pass from 
one place to another ; but when he is dead he is nothing but a mo- 
tionless trunk. This body, which is composed of 360 bones, of 900 
veins, and as many muscles, is full of intestines, phlegm, and mucus ; 
from nine different apertures disgusting matter is discharged ; a 
stinking perspiration exudes from all its pores, and yet there are 
people so foolish, as not merely to cherish their own bodies, but 
also to fall in love with those of other persons. This body, which 
even when alive is so disgusting, when it is dead becomes a carcass, 
which its own relations cannot look upon without horror. After 
two days it begins to smell, on the third it becomes green and 
black ; worms come from it in every part ; and, when in the grave, 

* Milinda Prasna. 


it is gnawed by the most despicable insects. Whoever considers 
these things will be convinced that in the body there is nothing but 
decay and misery ; and therefore he will cast off all affection for it, 
and turn all his desires to nirwana, where these things do not 

There are many advantages to be derived from meditating upon 
the attributes of the body. The merit of presenting an offering to 
a supreme Budha, it is said, is exceedingly great ; but the merit of 
him who trusts in the whole of the three gems with a right mind is 
greater ; and still greater is the merit of him who loves all sentient 
beings for so small a space as is occupied by the falling of the milk 
from the udder of a cow to the vessel placed to receive it. Superior 
to this, however, is the merit of him who keeps the five precepts ; 
yet greater than all is the merit of him who for the space of a finger- 
snapping meditates on the three signs connected with existence, sor- 
row, impermanence, and unreality. In a former age there were fifty 
friends, who, having found the dead body of a woman, collected 
Avood and made a funeral pile, upon which they burnt it. When 
they saw the blisters rising upon the body from the action of the 
fire, they reflected upon the position in which all must be placed, and 
then meditated upon the three gems. They were, in consequence, 
ever afterwards born either as dewas or men, never receiving any 
inferior existence ; and in the time of Gotama they became rahats. 
The same Budha had a disciple called Chullapanta, who in a former 
age was a king. One day, when he had ascended his chariot, and 
the horse had run some distance, the whole body of the animal was 
covered with sweat, by the sprinkling of which his robe was soiled. 
The king, on seeing what had occurred, reflected that the impurity 
proceeding from the body stains even the most beautiful apparel ; 
and through the merit of this reflection he was ever afterwards born 
in a superior state of existence.! 

The moralist, when he would persuade mankind to thoughtful- 
ness, has ever dwelt upon the ravages of disease, and the offensive 
accompaniments of death ; but the life of the ascetic is in many 
instances a perpetual comment upon the declaration of God, "dying 
thou shalt die." When Socrates was about to drink the hemlock, 
he declared that to think about death is the chief office of the philo- 
sopher. The earlier recluses retired to the tombs, as did Anthony, 

* Saiigcnuano's Burmese Empire, 
t Salcvva SCitra Sannu. 


who was left alone in the house of death, and when his friends had 
closed the door was afterwards seen only at intervals. At the conse- 
cration of a nun of St. Bridget four sisters brought her coffin, which, 
during mass, remained in the gate through which the nun was in- 
troduced, with earth sprinkled upon it. In the monasteries of this 
order there was a grave constantl)^ open, at which the abbess and 
convent daily attended and performed divine service, that they 
might be reminded of the short and uncertain duration of human 
life. In the infirmary of some of the monastic establishments there 
was a stone upon which the dying monks were washed and received 
extreme unction ; and upon this stone the brethren were directed to 
sit and meditate, as a kind of penance. 

Yet these very associations have sometimes been made use of as 
incentives to merriment and revelry. At the entertainments given 
by the ancient Egyptians, just as the company was about to rise 
from the repast, a small coffin was carried round, containing a per- 
fect representation of a dead body. This was shown to the guests 
in rotation, the bearer exclaiming, " Look at this figure ; after 
death you will resemble it ; drink then, and be happy." — Herod, 
ii. 78. 


The Budhists believe that it is possible, by the performance of 
certain ceremonies, and the observance of a prescribed course of 
moral action, to arrive at the possession of supernatural powers. 
The subject is one of almost limitless extent; but our notice of it 
must be principally confined to the rite called Kasina, a description 
of which will be given at length ; and we shall afterwards allude to 
other methods, by which it is supposed that a miraculous energy 
may be received. A few remarks upon the general question will 
be inserted at the end of the 22nd chapter. 

There are ten descriptions of kasina: — 1. Pathawi, earth. 2. 
Apo, water. 3. Tejo, fire. 4. Wayo, wind. 5. Nila, blue. 
6. Pita, golden. 7. Lohita, blood-red. 8. Odata, white. 9. Aloka, 
light. 10. Akasa, space. 

1. Pathatvi Kasina. — The priest who exercises pathawi-kasina 


must take earth, in the way appointed, and must exercise meditation, 
looking for the nimitta illumination, like the man who sees himself 
in a mirror. Though the word pathawi is used, which is a feminine 
noun, it must be regarded as of the neuter gender. The sign may 
be either a place made by himself for the occasion, or he may take 
the circular threshing-floor in a field, or any other place that, in a 
similar manner, has a limit ; but it is forbidden to take for the pur- 
pose a place that has no limit. The kasina-mandala, or circle, 
must be of the size of a winnowing fan, or the brazen porringer 
called a teti, which, being small, the priest can easily fix his eye 
upon it, as it must be of such a kind that, whether the eye be shut 
or open, the circle may be present to the mind. The mind must 
be firm, pondering over the sign again and again. The priest must 
reflect on the benefit to be derived from the exercise, regarding it 
with joy, as if it were a great treasure ; and he must not allow his 
mind to wander off after any other object whatever. Not thinking 
about anything else, he must resolve that, by this means, he will 
obtain relief from decay and death. Thus, being freed from evil 
desire, he will enter upon the first dhyana. 

When any one has enjoyed the benefits to be derived from the 
teachings of the Budhas in a former birth, or attained to the state 
of a rishi, and thereby been enabled to enter upon the fourth and 
fifth dhyanas, it will not be necessary for him to make a circle of 
earth, as a ploughed field or a threshing-fioor will serve the same 
purpose. Thus, when men pass through a desert with which they 
are not acquainted, and meet with water, they put something as a 
mark, that they may know the place again, and they are guided by 
this mark the next time they pass along the same road ; but when 
they have become well acquainted with the spot, from frequently 
passing and repassing, they do not require any mark to guide them 
to the water, as they can find it without this assistance. So the 
priest who has been accustomed to perform kasina in former births, 
does not require the same sign as others to assist his meditations. 
It was by this means that the priest Mallaka, by looking at a 
ploughed field, was enabled to enter the fifth dhyana, then to attain 
widarsana,* and become a rahat. When the priest has not prac- 
tised these things in a former birth, he must learn the course of 
discipline from a competent teacher, that he may know also the 
faults that are to be avoided in the exercise. 

* For an explanation of the terms used in this chapter, consult the Index. 


The kasina circle must not be blue, golden, blood-red, or white. 
The clay of which it is formed must not be of any of these colours 
(as they are the colours of other kasinas) ; it must be of a light red, 
aruna, the tint that the sky assumes at dawn, or the colour of the 
sand deposited by the Ganges. The frame upon Avhich the circle is 
placed must not be erected too near a wihara, where there may be 
disturbance from the samanera novices. A place must be chosen 
for the purpose at the limit of the grounds attached to the wihara, 
under the shade of a tree, or of a projecting rock; or a temporary 
pansal may be made for the occasion. The frame, made of four 
sticks, may either be set vip in such a way as to be removable to 
another place, or it may be fixed in the ground. Upon the top a 
piece of cloth, a skin, or a mat, must be extended, iipon which the 
clay must be spread, free from grass, roots, pebbles, and sand ; and 
it must be well tempered, and made very smooth. Gradually it 
must be kneaded and worked, until it is of the proper consistency ; 
and it must be formed into a circle one span and four inches in 
diameter. If the frame be fixed in the ground, it must be small at 
the bottom, and broad at the top, like the flower of the lotus. If 
sufficient clay cannot be procured of the proper colours, the body of 
the circle may be formed of any other clay, with a layer of aruna 
clay spread over the surface. Whether the circle be moveable or 
fixed, it must be of the prescribed size. When it is said that it 
must be of the same size as a winnowing fan, or a brazen porringer, 
it is not a large one that is intended, but one of the common size. 
It is essential that there be a limit to the thing which is taken as a 
sign, and it is on this account that its dimensions are pointed out. 
The space exterior to the circle may be of a white colour. The 
juice of the sandal- wood tree will not give the colour that is re- 

The priest must take water that falls from a rock, and therewith 
render the clay perfectly smooth and even, like the head of a drum ; 
then, having bathed, he must sweep the place where the frame is 
erected, and place a seat, without any irregularities on its surface, 
one span and four inches high, at the distance of two cubits and one 
span from the frame. Remaining upon this seat, he must look at 
the circle, and exercise meditation. If the seat be further distant 
than the prescribed space, he will not be able to see the circle pro- 
perly ; and if nearer, its imperfections will be too apparent. If it 
be higher, he will have to bend his neck to see the circle ; if lower. 


his knees will be pained. Thus seated, he must reflect on the evils 
resulting from the repetition of existence, and on the maimer in 
which it is to be overcome ; on the benefits received by those who 
practise the dhyanas and other modes of asceticism ; and on the ex- 
cellencies of the three gems ; and he must resolve upon securing the 
same advantages. He must not keep his eyes open too long, lest 
he become confused. The circle must be seen, but not too clearly, 
or his object cannot be gained ; still, it is necessary that it be seen 
with a certain degree of distinctness, or his aim will be equally 
frustrated. He must be like a man who watches an elephant ; not 
too intent, nor too careless : or, like a man looking at himself in a 
mirror, who does not notice the form of the instrument, but regards 
his own appearance alone. The colour of the circle must be no- 
ticed, but not with too much pleasure or satisfaction. It is not 
enough to think that it is composed of earth. The priest must also 
remember that the earthly particles of his own body are comjiosed of 
the same element. For this purpose he must think of the different 
names that are given to earth, such as pathawi, mahi, medini, 
bhumi, wasudha, and wasundara. Any of these names may be 
chosen, and, for a time, he may reflect on that exclusively ; but as 
the epithet most commonly used is pathawi, upon this he must 
meditate with greater frequency and intensity. Until nimitta is re- 
ceived, sometimes with his eyes open, and at other times with them 
shut, he must continually regard the circle, though the exercise has 
to be repeated a hundred or a thousand times. When the circle 
appears to the mind as clearly with the eyes shut as with them 
open, the nimitta may be regarded as accomplished. 

The exercise is not to be continued after the nimitta has been re- 
ceived, or it will again be lost. It is better, therefore, for the priest 
not to remain in the same place ; because, if he does so, his eyes 
will wander towards the circle. Going from thence to his usual 
place of residence, he must there exercise meditation. That time 
may not be lost in the washing of his feet, he must j^ut on shoes, 
which must be made of skin, that there may be no noise when he 
walks ; and he will require a staff", that dangers may be warded off". 
If by any means the nimitta should be destroyed, he must again 
take his shoes and staff", and carry on the meditation as before, until 
it be recovered. By the power of nimitta the thoughts that pre- 
vent the exercise of dhyana will be restrained ; scepticism will pass 
away, and purity will be received, by which the angas, or consti- 


tuent parts of the dhyanas, will be accomplished. There are two 
kinds of nimitta, ugrana and ^^ratibhaga. In the former, the imper- 
fections of the circle are seen ; in the latter, they are not, as the 
circle assumes the appearance of a clear mirror, or of a conch shell 
of the purest white, or of the orb of the moon when entirely free 
from clouds, or of the bird koka when the sky is dark and lower- 
ing ;* it is therefore a thousand times superior to the ugrana mimitta, 
and is without colour, shape, or outward appearance. The prati- 
bhaga nimitta is only received by those who practise the meditation 
by which samadhi is produced. 

Of samadhi there are two kinds, upachari and arppana, which cause 
the destruction of those things that act as an enemy to the dhyanas. 
In upachari samadhi the mind is not rightly firm, not entirely at 
rest or calm ; it is like a child that is unable to walk properly, and 
is continually falling ; as the nimitta is sometimes received, and then 
lost again. But arppana samadhi is more powerful ; it is like a 
man who rises from his seat, and walks steadily for the space 
of a whole day ; as, when it is received, the mind continues in 
one even frame, undisturbed and unshaken. Thovigh pratibhaga 
nimitta may be received with upachari samadhi, its acquirement 
in this way is difficult ; the priest must therefore endeavour to 
obtain arppana samadhi, and he must guard the nimitta that 
he receives with all care, as the treasurer of a chakrawartti guards 
the wealth that is under his charge. When the nimitta is not pre- 
served, so many of the dhyanas as have been received will be lost ; 
because nimitta is an assistance to the dhyanas. He who would 
receive arppana samadhi must be careful in seven matters. 1. His 
residence, which must be free from that which is disagreeable to 
him. Such a place was the wihara Chulanada, in Ceylon, in which 
500 priests became rahats ; but how many in Situlpaw and other 
places entered the paths, cannot be told. 2. The road he traverses 
when he goes with the alms-bowl in search of food, which must be 
within the distance of 750 bows. 3. Conversation : he must not 
speak about the thirty-two things that are forbidden to be noticed 
by the priest ; nor must he say too much even upon subjects that 

* I resided several years upon the sea-coast of Ceylon, and on the approacli 
of the monsoon, when the whole heavens were black as Erebus, have often 
admired the appearance presented by the plumage of the sea-birds, which at 
that time assemble in great numbers ; their wings appearing of a whiteness 
the most pure, when contrasted with the deep darkness of the surrounding 



are allowed. 4. Company : he nmist not converse with improper 
persons, even though it should be about things that are allowed as 
subjects of conversation. It is only with those that are seeking 
samadhi, or have attained it, that he must converse, as communica- 
tion with others will be like the muddy water, that defiles the clean 
and pure. There were some inexperienced priests in the Kelapaw 
wihara, who lost the nimitta they had gained, by talking to im- 
proper persons. 5. Food : some priests like sweet food, and some 
sour. He who would receive samadhi must have that kind of food 
which is most agreeable to him. 6. The season : some prefer heat, 
and others cold ; and in this case also, the time most agreeable to 
the individual must be chosen for the exercise. 7. The position of 
the body : that posture must be chosen which is most pleasant, 
whether it be walking, standing, sitting, or lying down ; and in 
order that the priest may discover this, he must practise each of the 
positions during three days. By attending to all the matters herein 
set forth, arppana samadhi will be accomplished ; but if it is not 
yet received the ten arppana kowsalya, or proprieties, must be 
more closely attended to, such as that the person and robe must be 
kept clean ; for when the hair is long, and the body, robe, or alms- 
bowl dirty, the mind cannot be kept pure. In the same way, if the 
wick and the oil are not clean, the lamp will not burn brightly. 

Samadhi is that which keeps the thoughts together, as the drop 
of water that causes the grains of sand to adhere together and form 
a ball. It is like the flame of a lamp that burns steadily. It pre- 
vents the perturbation of the different faculties of the mind. 

Samadhi is the principal root of all the other virtues ; all others 
are inferior to it, come after it, and bend towards it. In the conical 
roof of a dwelling, all the beams are inferior to the boss in the 
centre ; they are all inclined towards it, and joined to it. Again, 
in an. army composed of many different sections, all are inferior to 
the king by whom it is commanded ; all are directed by him and 
acknowledge his superiority. In like manner, samadhi is the chief 
of the attainments possessed by him who seeks nirwana. It was 
declared by Kudha, that he who possesses samadhi may readily 
acquire all other attainments. 

2. A2)o Kasinu. — The practice of apo-kasina agrees in most res- 
pects with that of pathawi-kasina, but there are a few differences, 
which will here l)e stated. When the priest has exercised this 
kasina in a former birth, he may take as the sign a tank, a pond, a 



lake, or the sea. There was Chulasiwa, who thinking it right that 
he should become an ascetic, took ship at the port of Mawatu, in 
Ceylon, and set sail for some country in Jambudwipa. On his way, 
the circle of the horizon became to him as a kasina-mandala, and 
he performed the exercise of apo-kasina. The priest who has not 
practised this kasina in a former birth, must catch a portion of water 
in a cloth as it falls from the sky in rain, before it has reached the 
ground ; it must be of one colour, the four colours blue, golden, 
blood-red, and Avhite being avoided ; or if rain cannot be procured, 
any other water that is free from agitation may be used instead. 
This water must be poured into an alms-bowl or some other vessel 
of a similar kind, and placed in some convenient part of the court 
of the wihara, or in a retired spot in some other locality ; and the 
priest, sitting down near it in the manner prescribed, must begin to 
meditate. He must not think of the colour of the water, nor of its 
other properties ; but must reflect that the perspiration and other 
watery particles in his own body are of the same nature as that upon 
which he looks. He must then think of and repeat, the various 
names that are given to water by the people of the world, such as 
ambu, udaka, wari, salila, and apo. By this means he will arrive at 
ugrana nimitta, but as this nimitta is not free from disquietude, it 
must pass away, like the bubble upon the water. The pratibhaga 
nimitta will then be attained, as the imperfection of the water, such 
as that it is liable to be raised into waves, will become apparent. 
After this the ascetic must proceed to the acquirement of the 
different dhyanas. 

3. Tejo Kasina. — When any one wishes to perform tejo-kasina, 
fire must be used as the sign. If the exercise was performed in a 
former birth, he may take as the sign the flame of a lamp, or fire 
from the oven, or the fire that is accidentally kindled in the forest 
by the friction of two dry branches. In this way, Chittagutta made 
use of a lamp that was burning at a poya festival ; and by medita- 
ting upon it he arrived at nimitta. But if this kasina was not per- 
formed in a former birth, the priest must take wood, dry and firm, 
that it may burn long, and cutting it into small pieces he must 
place it at the root of a tree, or in the court of the wihara, where it 
must be ignited. When all has been thus prepared, he must take 
a mat made of shreds of bamboo, or a skin, or a cloth, and making 
in it an aperture one span and four inches in diameter, he must place 
it before him, and then sit down, as in the practice of the other ka- 


sinas. Looking through the aperture, he must meditate . on the 
fire ; but he must not think of the grass or other embers below, nor 
of the smoke rising above, nor of the colour or other pi'operties of 
fire, as that it is warm ; he must fix his mind on the clear fire in the 
centre, and reflect that the fire in his own body is of a similar nature, 
flickering and inconstant. The diSerent names of fire must be re- 
peated, such as pawaka, kanhawattani, jataweda, utasana, and tejo. 

4. Wdyo Kasina. — In the practice of wayo-kasina, he who has 
performed the exercise in a former birth may take as the sign a 
grove of bamboos or sugar-cane, when agitated by the breeze. But 
he who has not previously performed the exercise must seat himself 
at the root of a tree, or in some other convenient place, and think 
of the wind passing through a window,"^' or the hole of a wall ; and 
that the wayo in his own body is as inconstant as the wind that 
strikes upon the person when the breeze is felt to blow. After this 
he must meditate on the difierent names by which wind is known, 
wata, maluta, anila, and wayo. In other respects, the same form 
that is attended to in pathawi-kasina is to be observed. 

5. N'lla Kasina. — In nila-kasina flowers, a garment, an altar 
covered with flowers, or a gem, of a blue colour, may be taken as 
the sign. "When the observance has been attended to In a former 
birth, it will suffice to look upon a tree covered with blue flowers ; 
but if it has not been thus attended to, a vessel must be filled with 
fiowers of a blue colour, but the pollen or the stalks are not to be 
seen ; or a blue garment may be tied over the mouth of a vessel, 
tight, like the skin stretched upon a drum, which must be covered 
with flowers. The colour must be like that which is obtained from 
the rust of copper or from antimony ; or a circle of a blue colour 
may be made upon the wall. The priest must then fix his mind 

* In India this aperture is literally a window, without glass, or even a lat- 
tice-work, as in Turkey. In the north of England it is still called mndur, 
probably from ^vind-door, as was conjectured by Skinner. The houses of the 
Anglo-Saxons appear to have been open in a manner that those who are accus- 
tomed to the conveniences of modern times can scarcely understand. The 
address of the aged thane to EdAvin, kmg of Northumbria, when the subject 
of Christianity was brought before the witan, is well known ; but it is too 
beautiful not to bear repetition. " When," said he, " O king, you and yovu- 
ministers are seated at tabic in the depth of winter, and the cheerful tii'c 
blazes on the hearth in the middle of the hall, a sparrow perhaps, chased by 
the wind and snow, enters at one door of the apartment, and escapes by the 
other. During the moment of its passage, it enjoys the warmth ; when it is 
once departed, it is seen no more. Such is the nature of man. Dm-ing a few 
years his existence is visible : but what has preceded, or what will follow it, 
is concealed from the view of mortals." — Lingard's Anglo-Saxon Church. 

s 2 


upon that wliich he has chosen as a sign, and reflect that the sky 
also is of the colour of the sapphire ; in other things proceeding as 
in the kasinas already described. 

6, Pita Kasina. — The exercise of pita-kasina is the same as that 
of nila, the only difference being in the colour. A priest in the 
Situlpaw wihara took as the sign a throne ornamented with patangi 
(sappan, or log- wood) flowers, by which he was enabled to receive 
nimitta. — In the exercise of lohita-kasina, the circle may be made 
with Vermillion ; and in odata-kasina, a vessel of lead or silver, or 
the orb of the moon, may be taken as the sign. 

7. Aloka Kasina. — In aloka-kasina the sign maybe a hole in the 
wall, a key-hole, or a window. If the same kasina has been ob- 
served in a former birth, it will suffice to take the light passing 
through a hole in the wall, or the sunbeam as it falls upon the 
ground through an opening in the thick foliage of a tree, or an 
aperture made among the leaves by which a hut is covered ; but if 
it has not been exercised previously, the names of light, such as 
obhasa and aloka, must be thought of and repeated. Yet as a circle 
made by the sun or moon soon passes away, it will be better to 
take an earthen vessel, with a hole made in its side, in which a 
lamp must be placed ; and then if it be put near a wall, the light 
from the hole will fall thereon, and the priest will be able to medi- 
tate upon the circle thus formed a greater length of time than if it 
were made in the manner first mentioned. 

In the exercise of parichinnakasa-kasina the sky must be looked 
at through a hole in the roof of a hut or through a hole of the pre- 
scribed dimensions made in a skin. 

By the practice of pathawi-kasina the priest will receive the power 
to multiply himself many times over ; to pass through the air or 
walk on the water ; and to cause an earth to be made, on which he 
can walk, stand, sit, and lie. By apo-kasina he can cause the earth 
to float ; create rain, rivers, and seas ; shake the earth and rocks, 
and the dwellings thereon ; and cause water to proceed from all 
parts of the body. By tejo-kasina he can cause smoke to proceed 
from all parts of the body, and fire to come down from heaven like 
rain ; by the glory that proceeds from his person he can overpower 
that which comes from the person of another ; he can dispel dark- 
ness, collect cotton or fuel and other combustibles, and cause them 
to burn at will ; cause a light which will give the power to see in 
any place as with divine eyes ; and when at the point of death he 


can cause his body to be spontaneously burnt. By wayo-kasina he 
can move as fleetly as the wind ; cause a wind to arise whenever he 
wishes ; and can cause any substance to remove from one place to 
another without the intervention of a second person. By the other 
kasinas respectively, the priest who practises them in a proper 
manner can cause figures to appear of different colours ; change 
any substance whatever into gold, or cause it to be of a blood-red 
colour, or to shine as with a bright light ; change that which is 
evil into that which is good ; cause things to appear that are lost or 
hidden ; see into the midst of rocks and the earth, and penetrate 
into them ; pass through walls and solid substances ; and drive 
away evil desire. 

Those who are of both sexes cannot accomplish the exercise of 
kasina, nor the inhabitants of Uturukuru, nor Mara ; and there are 
many others, among whom are the sceptics, that are similarly sit- 
uated. Those only who have wisdom, determination, and the other 
powers, can practise this rite with success. 

There are fourteen different ways in which the kasinas are to be 
exercised : — 

1. Kasindnuloma. — This is to be practised in the following man- 
ner. First, pathawi-kasina is to be accomplished ; then, in regular 
order, the apo, tejo, wayo, nlla, pita, lohita, and odata kasinas. Thus, 
the commencement must be made at the root, and from thence in 
regular progression to the end. 

2. Kasinapatiloma. — In the exercise of this kasina the order must 
be the reverse of the former ; it must be from the end to the root, 
from odata to pathawi. 

3. Kasind)iul6nia-2)atil6ma. — In this the order is from the root to 
the end, from pathawi to odata ; and then again from odata to 
pathawi, from the end to the root. 

4. Dhydndmil6ma. — In this the order is from the first, to the 
second, third, and fourth dhyanas ; then to akasananchayataua, 
akinchanyayatana, and newasanyanasanyayatana. 

5. DJiydnapatiloma. — In this the order is the reverse of the mode 
just mentioned, being from newasanyanasanyayatana, by retrogres- 
sion, to the first dhyana. 

6. Dhydndnuh'mia-patiloma. — In this the order is from the first 
dhyana to newasanyanasanyayatana, and then again from this to the 
first dhyana. 

7. DhydndnukJuDttaka. — In this the order is the same as in dhya- 


nanuloma, only missing one each time. The beginning must be 
made with pathawi-kasina, and then the dhyanas, &c., must be 
taken alternately, as from the first dhyana to the third, then to 
akasananchayatana, and so on to the end. When this is concluded 
the beginning must be made from apo-kasina, and the order con- 
tinued as before. 

8. Kasinanuhhantaha. — In this the order is from pathawi-kasina 
to the first dhyana, then again from tejo-kasina to nila and lohita 
kasina, taking the alternate kasinas and dhyanas, until the whole 
are concluded. 

9. Dhydnahasindnukhantaka. — In this the order is from pathawi- 
kasina, along with the first dhyana ; tejo-kasina, along with the third 
dhyana ; nila-kasina, with akasananchayatana ; and lohita-kasina, 
with akinchanyayatana. 

10. Angasankantiha. — In this the order is from pathawi-kasina 
to the second dhyana. 

11. Arammanasankantika. — In this the order is from pathawi- 
kasina, along with the first dhyana, to apo, tejo, wayo, nila, pita, 
lohita, and odata kasina, and each dhyana is to be taken with all 
the kasinas in regular order. 

12. Ang arammanasankantika. — In this the order is from pathvvi- 
kasina, along with the first dhyana ; apo-kasina, with the second 
dhyana, tejo-kasina, with the third dhyana ; wayo-kasina, with the 
fourth dhyana ; nila-kasina, with akasananchayatana ; pita-kasina, 
with winyanan chayatana ; lohita-kasina, with akinchanyayatana ; 
and odata-kasina with newasanyanasanyayatana. Thus an outward 
rite and an inward meditation must be exercised alternately. 

13. Angatvatoaticqmna. — To the first dhyana there are five angas ; 
to the second dhyana, three ; to the third dhyana, two ; to the fourth 
dhyana, one ; there is also akasananchayatana, &c. This is what is 
meant by angawawattapana. 

14. Arammanaivaivaiidpatia. — The reflecting that this is pathawi- 
kasina ; this, apo-kasina ; this, tejo-kasina, &cc. 

When the whole of these fourteen exercises are not accomplished, 
the power of irdhi cannot be acquired, unless they have been prac- 
tised in former ages. To him who has not exercised kasina in former 
ages its accomplishment is exceedingly difiicult. Among those who 
have not thus exercised it, scarcely one succeeds in its acquisition, 
out of a hundred or a thousand who may attempt it. Even to those 
who accomplish the exercise of kasina, the acquirement of nimitla 


is exceedingly difficult ; scarcely one in a hundred or a thousand is 
successful to this extent. Even to those who acquire nimitta, it is 
equally difficult to acquire arppana. Even to those who acquire 
arppana, it is equally difficult to discipline the mind in the fourteen 
modes that are prescribed. Even to those who have thus disciplined 
the mind, it is equally difficult to obtain the power of irdhi. Even 
to those who have acquired the power of irdhi, it is equally difficult 
to obtain khiiipanisanni. Even to those who have acquired khip- 
panisanni, it is equally difficult to obtain parama-pratishtabhawa, 
or rahatship. In this way, by a process so long and difficult, is the 
rahatship to be received. As the potter gradually prepares and 
tempers his clay, that he may be able to make with it such vessels 
as he designs, so the mind of the priest must be gradually softened, 
in the way that has been prescribed, that he may acquire the power 
at which he aims. 

As the baker, when making bread, adds the flour by degrees, and 
as the ploughman adds furrow to furrow, so the priest who exercises 
kasina mentally enlarges the circle from an inch to a span, gradually 
increasing it until it encompasses the whole court of the wihara, 
the village, the kingdom, the earth, the sakwala, and even a greater 
sjiace. Again, as the jawana-hangsha, from its first taking wing, 
gradually increases the distance of its flight, until it can travel to 
the sun or the moon ; so the priest who exercises kasina passes in 
mind from one to another of the rocks, hills, and rivers of the earth, 
until the whole seem to pass away and become flat, like the skin of 
a bull fastened down to the ground by a thousand pins. 

When a priest has thirty-two houses in the walk or round in 
which he goes to receive alms, he sometimes receives as much at 
the first house as is sufficient for two houses ; he therefore omits 
the second house, and goes to the third. The next day he may re- 
ceive sufficient at the first house for three ; he therefore omits the 
second and third houses and goes to the fourth. The following day 
he may receive as much at the first house as is sufficient for the 
whole round ; he therefore goes to no other house. In like manner, 
in the exercise of bhawana, samadhi, Sec, when the benefit of two 
rites in the series is obtained by the observance of one, the second 
may be omitted, and when the benefit of three has been obtained in 
the same way, the second and third may be omitted. 

The priest must exercise akasananchayatana-bhawana, the benefit 
of which is hereby declared. Assaults, stripes, and disputes arise 


from the possession of rupa, or the body ; but they do not exist in 
the arupa world, and the destruction of rupa is therefore to be de- 
sired. In order that this may be accomplished, the priest reflects 
iipon the evils proceeding from rupa. The man who has escaped 
from a serpent that he met with in the forest, when he afterwards 
sees a mark on the floor, a picture, a crevice in the ground, a rope, 
or the branch of a palm-tree, is afraid, and he therefore turns from 
the object with abhorrence. Or, if a man has an enemy in the vil- 
lage, from whom he or his property is in danger, he removes to 
another village ; and if in that village he sees any one who has a 
voice or countenance like his enemy, he turns away from him in 
alarm. In like manner, he who receives pratibhaga will regard the 
rupa with aversion, and endeavour to escape from it. When the 
dog that has been bit by a boar in the forest afterwards sees in the 
twilight a vessel of rice upon the fire, he runs away from it in fear. 
And when a man who has been frightened by seeing the sprite 
called a pisacha afterwards sees in any lonely place a prostrate tree, 
he falls down in a fit from terror. In like manner, when the priest 
who exercises this mode of bhawana sees into the evils connected 
Avith rupa, he is afraid, and he therefore seeks to obtain release from 
it, or to destroy it. 

By the same exercise the priest arrives at newasanyanasanya- 
samapatti. Under these circumstances the rupa is not, and yet is ; 
it exists, but in a manner the most subtle and attenuated. What is 
meant by these expressions may be learnt from the following 
comparisons. A samanera novice rubs a little oil in the inside 
of an alms-bowl ; after which a priest asks for something to eat 
from the same bowl. The novice says, " I cannot do so, as there is 
oil in it." The priest then tells him to pour the oil into a cruse ; 
but he says, " I am not able, as there is no oil in it." The truth is, 
that there is a little oil rubbed on the inside, but not enough to 
pour out. Again, two priests were walking together, when one 
said to the other, that he must take oft" his sandals, as there was 
water. The other then said, " If so, go and fetch my loose robe, 
that I may bathe ;" but the first priest replied, " You cannot bathe, 
as there is no water.'' There was suflScient water to require the 
priest to take off" his sandals, but not enough for him to bathe. 
Again, a brahman saw some one with a vessel, and he asked him 
to give him something to drink ; but the man replied, " There is 
toddy in the vessel, I cannot." Then the brahman told him to give 


some toddy to another person who was near ; but he said, " There 
is no toddy ; I am not able." It was a toddy-vessel, so that he 
could not offer it to the brahman ; but there was no toddy in it at 
the time, so that he was not able to give any to the man, as was 
requested. In like manner, that upon which this form of bhawana 
is exercised, though it is, becomes as if it were not. 

These exercises must be carried on with a calm and even mind, 
or the end that is aimed at cannot be attained. 

When the unwise bee is about to prepare honey for its cell, it is 
too anxious to obtain the pollen, and so comes with such haste to 
the tree, that it is too exhausted to collect it ; and Avhen it conies a 
second time, the pollen has all fallen to the ground, and is useless. 
Another bee, moderately wise, comes at the proper time, but col- 
lects both the good pollen and the bad. And a third is all too late, 
so that the pollen is entirely gone. But the wise bee knows when 
the flowers bear the richest pollen ; he comes at the proper time, 
and in a proper manner ; collects as much as he requires, makes it 
into honey, and thus lives on the most delicious food. The sur- 
geon's assistant (who learns to open veins by cutting the stalk of 
the lotus as it grows in the water) strikes so hard, that the instru- 
ment passes through the stalk to the other side, or the flower is 
driven under the water; or, on the other hand, he fears even to 
touch it, lest he should fail. But the skilful surgeon has a sharp 
instrument, and he knows exactly where to strike, and how to strike, 
because he has learnt to excel in his profession. The king offers a 
reward of four thousand pieces of gold to any one who will bring 
him a spider's web four fathoms long. A skilful man finds a web 
of this description, and he goes quickly and takes it. An unskilful 
man finds one, but he is afraid to take it lest it should break ; 
though the other man has succeeded in taking the web he found, 
and has wrapped it round a reel, perfect from end to end. The 
skilful mariner hoists his sail when there is a strong breeze, and 
makes a short voyage. The unskilful mariner takes down his sail, 
even when there is no more than a moderate breeze, and remains in 
one spot ; the other mariner hoists his sail to the breeze, and when 
it is high reefs it, thus arriving quickly at the destined port. The 
skilful novice, when directed by a superior priest, pours oil into a 
vessel without spilling a drop. But <he unskilful novice is afraid, 
and is therefore unable to pour out the oil, though the other pours it 
out with the utmost ease. In like manner, the priest who would 


exercise bhawana so as to arrive at arppana nimitta, must not, on 
the one hand, be too proud and confident ; nor, on the other, care- 
less and indifferent ; he must possess an even, tranquil mind, free 
from agitation. 

The goldsmith, when about to exercise his craft, erects a furnace, 
carefully tempering the clay ; he then watches the metal to see 
whether it be properly melted ; at one time blows, and at another 
sprinkles water ; and when the metal is ready, he makes whatever 
kind of ornament is wanted. In like manner must he act who exer- 
cises bhawana, in attending to the ordinances that are prescribed. 

When these exercises are rightly performed equanimity is pro- 
duced, as a natural consequence ; so that the mind becomes entirely 
free from all that would agitate it, and even from all that would in 
any way attract its attention. 

When a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke is fastened to a wag- 
gon, it runs hither and thither, in any direction, whether there be a 
road or not. The husbandman therefore takes a grown-up calf from 
its mother, and fastens it to a pillar ; and though at first it attempts 
to get away, and is restless, it is not able, and it is made to eat and 
sleep near the pillar, until its wildness is overcome. So also the 
mind of the priest who does not exercise the various ordinances of 
meditation wanders after that which he sees, and is never at rest ; 
but when he fastens his mind to aswasa and praswasa, or the 
inspirated and expirated breath, by the cord of wisdom, it is re- 
strained, and is no longer attracted by sensible objects. 

The aswasa and praswasa are caused by the hita, or mind, but 
cannot exist without the body. As the smith causes the bellows to 
open and shut, and the wind to proceed therefrom, and both the 
smith and the instrument are necessary to produce this effect, so 
for the existence of aswasa and praswasa there must be the rupa, 
the hita, and the chetana, or thoughts of the hita. 

When a man jumps from an eminence, or carries a heavy burden 
upon his head, his breathing becomes violent ; but when he goes 
into the shade, or drinks water, or places something cold upon his 
breast, it becomes more gentle. In like manner, by the exercise of 
meditation the breathing is tranquillised, as well as by entering upon 
the dhvanas. 

There is no aswasa or praswasa to the child in the womb ; to 
him who is drowned ; to him who is born in the Asangignyatala- 
loka ; to the dead ; to him who has accomplished the fourth 


dhyana ; to those born in the arupa worlds ; or to those who 
have attained nirwana. Those in the womb or the water have not 
the necessary space ; some have them not, because they have no 
chetana; and to others it is the natural state. Some think that 
they may be overcome by a person's own exertions ; but they will 
continue to all who are not included in one or other of the classes 
just mentioned. Gotama said that he spoke not of these things 
except to the wise, as the practice of them is exceedingly difficult. 
He who makes an embroidered zone must have a very small needle, 
with an eye still smaller ; so he who performs this exercise must 
have a mind like the needle, and wisdom like the eye. 

This exercise is connected with asubha bhawana. It is said in 
the Milinda Prasna, that he who rightly perceives that all continued 
existence is sorrow, choosing the root of some tree in a solitary part 
of the forest, sits under it with his feet bent up and his body 
straight ; then collecting his thoughts, with a calm mind he makes 
an inspiration and an expiration of the breath. Drawing a long 
breath through the nostrils, he notices, I have thus drawn a long 
breath. Breathing a long spiration from the nostrils, he notices, 
I have thus breathed a long spiration from the nostrils. Drawing 
a short breath through the nostrils, he notices, I have drawn a long 
spiration through the nostrils. Reflecting that the beginning, the 
middle, and the end of every kind of breath is from the body, he 
resolves, with a wise mind I will draw an inspiration ; with a wise 
mind I will breath out an expiration. In a manner so as not to fill 
the cavity of the nose, restraining the violence or magnitude of his 
breath, he makes an inspiration, and noticing, I thus make an in- 
spiration, he disciplines his mind ; then making an expiration, he 
notices, I thus make an expiration. Reflecting on the joy connected 
with the exercise of the first dhyana, and causing its production, he 
thus makes an inspiration and an expiration. In the same way 
reflecting on the advantages connected with the exercise of the 
third dhyana, and causing its production, he thus makes an inspira- 
tion and an expiration. Indulging comprehensive thoughts, he 
makes an inspiration and an expiration. Restraining comprehensive 
thoughts, he makes an inspiration and an expiration. Reflecting 
on the manner of the fourth dhyana, he makes an inspiration and 
an expiration. Rendering his mind joyful by reflecting on the 
manner of samadhi, he makes an insinration and an expiration. 
Collecting his mind, after the manner of the first dhyana, he makes 


an inspiration and an expiration. As in the fourth dhyana, freeing 
his mind from witarka, wichara, priti, sukha, and dukha, he makes 
an inspiration and expiration. Reflecting on the impermanency of 
the five khandas, he makes an inspiration and an expiration. Re- 
flecting on the various forms of evil desire, he makes an inspiration 
and an expiration. Reflecting that by the destruction of all the 
elements of existence nirwana will be seen, he makes an inspiration 
and an expiration. Reflecting that by the abstract meditation 
Called wipasena, he may, as it were, leap to nirwana, he makes an 
inspiration and an expiration. Thus in sixteen different ways he 
exercises anapana-sati-bhawana, and at each exercise disciplines his 
mind, or brings it into subjection. When he sees a dead body, 
fearful to look upon, thrown into the cemetry, or any other place, 
he reflects, my body is of the same nature as this. When he sees 
a dead body surrounded by blue-bottle flies, presenting blue pu- 
tridity, like the body of a rat-snake, he makes the same reflection ; 
and he repeats it when he sees the offensive juices oozing in many 
different ways from the various apertures of the body ; when he 
sees a body torn to pieces amidst the combats of crows, kites, and 
other birds of prey ; when he sees a body near the place of execution, 
decapitated, or with its hands and feet cut off", a frightful trunk ; 
when he sees a body mangled by the weapon resembling a crow's 
foot ; when he sees a body at the place of torture all covered with 
blood ; when he sees a body in the cemetry, with worms creeping 
out of the nine apertures, and with worms all over, one that is too 
disgusting to look upon, one that by looking upon it would cut oflf 
all desire for the repetition of existence ; and when he sees a body 
with the putridity gone, the flesh, blood, and veins all gone, so that 
it is a mere skeleton : — in all these instances he reflects, My body 
is of the same nature ; and thus exercises karmmasthana-bhawana. 
After this he exercises affection towards all creatures ; he reflects 
that when the wise man sees any one in distress, he sympathises 
with him, and desires that his sorrow may be removed and entirely 
destroyed ; when he sees any one invested with great glory or 
happiness, he approves of it, and rejoices in it; he regards all in- 
diflferently, without partiality or favour ; he rejects all relationship, 
friendship, wealth, and pleasure, knowing that life is hastening to 
the mouth of death ; and he reflects that the body is composed of 
the filth that proceeds from the nine apertures, and of the thirty-two 


Whon the husbandman has done pUinghing, he takes the oxen 
1o a place where there is plenty of grass, and there lets them loose. 
When he wishes again to catch them, if he be at all skilful, he does 
not go to the forest to seek them ; but he takes the reins and a 
goad, and sits down near the place where they are accustomed to 
drink. By and bye the oxen come to the water, and he catches 
them with the reins, after which he drives them along with the 
goad, and sets them again to the work of the plough. In like 
manner, the priest fixes his mind exclusively upon the nostrils by 
which arc the issues and entrances of the breath, with a mind like 
the reins, and wisdom like the goad. The exercise must be con- 
tinued until he arrive at mimitta pratibhaga. This nimitta is not 
to all persons of one and the same kind. To some it brings much 
satisfaction ; it is like cotton, or the wind. To others it is like the 
light of a star, a gem, a pearl, a cotton-seed, or a needle made of 
firm wood. To others it is like a thread upon which to string 
valuable beads, a garland, a mist, a cloud, a water lily, the wheel 
of a chariot, or the orbit of the sun and moon. In this manner, a 
number of priests assemble to hear bana. When the discourse is 
concluded, one asks another in what way the sutra appeared to him. 
Some Avill say that it appeared to them like a river falling from a 
high rock ; others that it was like a forest with many flowers, or 
like a tree laden with fruit and presenting a cool shade. The same 
sutra will appear in a different manner to different persons ; and it 
is the same with the reception of nimitta. This meditation on the 
inspirated and expirated breath, is called anapana-sati-karmasthana. 

Relative to this subject the king of Sagal said to Nagasena, " Is 
it possible to destroy the aswasa and praswasa?" Nagasena re- 
plied, "It is possible." Milinda : "In what way?" Nagasena: 
" Did you ever notice how a person snores when going to sleep 
after a plentiful meal ? " Milinda : " Yes." Nagasena : " Though 
he thus snores, is he alive ? " Milinda :" Yes." Nagasena :" The 
individual has not attained to the first dhyana or to wiweka ; he 
does not practice the pratimoksha and other silas ; he has not 
entered the paths ; he is still under the influence of evil desire ; he 
he is unwise ; and whilst he yet has life, he snores. But the wise 
priest, who acts in a manner the reverse of all this, attains the 
dhyanas, and so destroys the aswasa and praswasa;" as the tran- 
{piillity of the mind increases in proportion to the diminution of 
the grossness of the body. 


The word dhyana is said to mean, " that which burns up evil 
desire, or the cleaving to existence." It is sometimes used in the 
sense of meditation, and at other times is allied to samadi ; in some 
places it is a cause, and in others an effect. 

There are five principles that are connected with the dhyanas. 
With these five they are perfect, as when we speak of the four 
divisions of an army, or five kinds of musical instruments, or eight 
directions. They are witarka, wichara, priti, sepa, and chitta-ekan- 

The dhyanas are divided into five sections, called pratamadhyana, 
dwitiyadhyana, tritiyadhyana, chaturtadhyana, and panchamadhy- 
ana ; or first, second, third, fourth, and fifth dhyanas. 

To the first dhyana belong witarka, attention ; and wichara, 

To the second dhyana belong priti, joy; sepa, comfort; and 
chitta-ekangakama, mental restraint. 

When the third dhyana is accomplished there is the possession 
of upeksha. 

When the fourth dhyana is accomplished there is an entire 
destruction of the cleaving to existence. 

In the exercise of the first dhyana the mind is like the waves upon 
the water, when there are some large and some small; there is no 
clearness ; that which is the subject of contemplation is like a fish 
seen in the water ; and the samadhi that is attained is of an inferior 
character. In the second dhyana the samadi becomes more piu-e, 
as the mind recedes further and further from witarka and wichara. 
There is a degree of upeksha possessed in the first and second 
dhyanas, but it is not perfect ; they are like a man who walks in a 
place covered with sharp stones, whilst the third dhyana is like a 
man who walks in an even road. 

When the third dhyana has been entered, the mind, unless it be 
rightly siibdued, will still go out after the prita it has abandoned, 
as the calf that is tied at a distance from the cow continually seeks 
to break away from its confinement, that it may reach the udder 
whence it has been accustomed to draw milk. 

With the fourth dhyana there is connected the wedana called 
upeksha-wedana. When the husbandman wants to catch a refrac- 
tory bull, he drives the whole herd into the fold, and then, letting the 
animals out one by one, by this means he catches the bull ; in like 
manner, in order to discover this form of wedana, all the sensations 


must be collected together, and examined one by one, when it will 
be perceived. It is exceedingly small, and scarcely to be discerned, 
as it is not connected with cither pleasure or pain. When the mind 
is thus cleansed by upeksha it becomes exceedingly pure. 

There is also that which is called tatramadyastopeksha ; it is like 
the moon ; wedanapeksha is like the night ; witarka and wichara 
are like the sun. When the sun shines, the beams of the moon do 
not appear, but they appear at night. In like manner, when 
witarka and wichara are in existence there can be no tatramadyas- 
topeksha ; but when they are done away with, it becomes apparent. 

According to the system of the brahmans the fifth dhyana is to 
be entered ; but according to Budhism it is to be avoided (as it leads 
only to attainments that are of inferior excellence, and sets aside 
the present reception of nirwana.) There was a priest called Ka- 
ladewala who entered the fiftli dhyana, and he was afterwards born 
in one of the arupa-brahma-lokas. After the accomplishment of 
the dhyanas, the Budhists seek to enter the paths. 

There are some bridges that are formed of a single tree ; and 
there are others so broad and strong, that a number of loaded 
waggons placed abreast can pass over at one time. In like 
manner, there is a difference in the attainments of the srawakas, 
and it is ruled by the manner in which they exercise the dhyanas. 

The state of mind that is produced by the exercise of the dhyanas 
is called parikarmma ; and according to its character will be the 
power of the divine eyes that will be received, as they will be more 
or less clear, strong, extensive in the circle of their vision, and 
permanent in their existence. Unless there be the forming of the 
parikarmma, the power of the divine eyes will be lost ; in which 
case there must again be the exercise of the dhyanas, as at first. 

They who practice the dhyanas have the power to visit the brahma- 
lokas, and it is only by them that the power is received. 

When the prince Sidhartta was under the tree at the festival of 
the plough, free from wastu-kama and klesha-kama, as well as 
from raga, dwesa, and moha, but still under the influence of witarka 
and wichara, and having also the priti and sepa that arise from 
wiweka, he exercised the first dhyana. Then, having overcome 
witarka and wichara, and arrived at tranquillity of mind, and having 
the priti and sepa that arise from samadhi, he exercised the second 
dhyana. Then overcoming all regard for priti, he received upeksha, 
smirti, and sampajana ; and with these endowments of the rahats 
he exercised the third dhyana. Last of all, having become free 


IVnm scpa, dukha, and sowrmanasya, but retaining upeksha, smirti, 
and parisudlii, he exercised the fourth dhyana.* 

At the time that the dewa Sekra paid his first visit to Budha, the 
sage was performing dhyana, so that the dewa was not permitted 
to see him. On his second visit he reminded Budha of the circum- 
stance, who said that, though he Avas not seen, he heard the sound 
of the dewa's chariot wheels. Now when a person is performing 
dhyana, he could not hear though a conch were to be blown close 
to him. How then, it may be asked, could Budha hear the sound 
of Sekra's chariot ? The answer is this, that before commencing 
the exercise, he had appointed to return to consciousness at the 
moment the chariot was passing. 

The supernatural effects that are here represented as being pro- 
duced through the influence of abstract meditation, are said, in 
other instances, to arise from the possession of priti, or joy. There 
is one kind of priti that is called udwega. The priest Maha Tissa 
resided at the wihara of Panagal. It was his custom to worship at 
the dagoba belonging to this temple, and on a certain festival he 
looked towards the place where the principal relics were deposited, 
thinking thus within himself: " In former periods many priests and 
religious persons assembled here that they might worship ;" and as 
he was in the act of making this reflection, he received the power 
of udwega-priti, by which he was enabled to rise into the air, and 
pass at once to the sacred place. Near the Girikanda wihara there 
was a village called Wattakala, in which resided a respectable 
woman who was an upasikawa devotee. One evening, when her 
parents were about to go to the wihara to hear bana, they said to 
her, " On account of your present situation it will not be proper for 
you to accompany us to the wihara ; we will go alone, and hear 
bana, and whatever benefit we receive we will impart to you." 
Though exceedingly desirous to hear bana, as she could not dis- 
obey her parents she remained at home. As the wihara could be 
distinguished from the court-yard of the house, she looked towards 
it, and seeing the lights of the festival, and the people in the act of 
worship, whilst at the same time she could hear the voices of the 
priests, she thought within herself, " They who can thus be pre- 
sent at the festival are blessed." By this reflection udwega-priti 
was formed in her mind, and in an instant she began to ascend into 

* This paragraph is taken from Tiu-noiu's Mahawanso, and the one follow- 
ing it from the Pujawaluja. The rest of the information contained in the pre- 
preceding parts of this chapter is taken from the Wisudhi Margga Sanne and 
Milinda Prasna. 


the sky, so that she arrived at the wihara before her parents, who, 
when they entered and saw her, asked how she had come, and slie 
replied, that " she had come through the sky." And when they 
further asked how she had thus exercised the power of a rahat, she 
said, " I only know that I did not remain any longer in the same 
place after I felt the joy ; I know nothing more." * 

There is another miraculous energy, called Sacha Kiriya, which 
can be exercised either by the laic or the priest ; but it is the most 
efficient when accompanied by bhawana. A recitation is made of 
acts of merit done either in this or some foiTner birth, and by 
the powder of this merit, when the recitation is truthfully made, the 
effect intended to be produced takes place, however w^onderful its 
character may be. The word sacha signifies true ; and kiriyang, 
an action ; but in this particular instance sacha appears to be re- 
garded as equivalent to merit. The exercise is nearly allied to the 
mantra of the Hindus, in the power of which the Budhists believe ; 
but although the word mantra is frequently met with in their 
writings, I do not remember an instance in which it is used in refer- 
ence to the sacha kiriya. Its potency may be learnt from the fol- 
lowing legends. 

There was an upasaka devotee in Ceylon, whose mother was sick. 
As the flesh of a hare boiled was prescribed for her, the son went 
to a field and caught one in a trap ; but when the animal cried out, 
he thought within himself, " Why should one life be saved by the 
destruction of another?" and set it free. When he went home, 
and told the family what he had done, his brother derided him ; 
but he went to his mother and said, " I have never knowingly taken 
the life of any creature whatever, from my childhood until now ; by 
the power of this sacha kiriya may you be healed." In an instant 
her sickness was removed. 

There was a priest, Maha Mitta, whose mother was afflicted with 
a boil. Of this she sent her daughter to inform her son, that he 
might recommend some remedy. The priest replied, " I do not un- 
derstand the virtue of roots, but I possess a power that is greater : 
I have never, since I entered the priesthood, broken the precepts ; 
by this sacha kiriya may my mother be healed." At that moment 
the boil dried up and fell off.f 

In the fourth year of the reign of Asoka, as this king was one 

♦ "Wisuclhi Margga Saniie. f Ibid. 


day conversing with his nobles, he said, " If I had lived in the same 
age as Budha, I would have offered to him the whole of Jambud- 
wipa ; had I been king of the dewas, I would have offered to him 
the whole of the heavens ; but I was born at an after period, and 
mine eyes have not beheld him ; is there any one now in existence 
who has seen the divine sage ?" The nobles replied, " It is now 
221 years since the dissolution of Gotama ; it is not possible, there- 
fore, that there can be any human being now alive who has seen 
him ; but in the Manjarika world there is the naga Maha Kala, who 
has been in existence from the beginning of the kalpa, and seen 
four supreme Budhas ; and he possesses the power of making a form 
appear, exactly like that of the lord of the three worlds." The 
king, on hearing this, caused a golden fetter to be made ; and when 
he received it he said, " By virtue of this sacha kiriya, my firm faith 
in the three gems, may this golden fetter proceed to the residence 
of the naga Maha Kala, and bring to my presence the naga king." 
So saying, he threw the fetter to the ground, that it might fulfil 
his command. In an instant the fetter proceeded to the naga world, 
through a cleft that was formed in the earth, and fell at the feet of 
Maha Kala. The naga looked to see what was the cause of its appear- 
ance ; and when he perceived the faith and power of the king, he 
hastened to the world of men, attended by 10,000 other nagas ; and 
the king made an offering to him of flowers and lights. When this 
was concluded, Asoka said, " I am wishful to see the form of Budha ; 
now cause a representation of the sage to appear." But the naga 
replied, " I am yet under the influence of evil desire ; Budha was 
free from all impurity. I am under the power of error ; he was all- 
wise. I am inferior ; he was supreme. I am finite ; he was in- 
finite. There are equals to me ; to him there is no equal. How, 
then, can I cause an adequate representation of him to appear?" 
But at the persuasion of those present he caused an image of Kaku- 
sanda Budha to appear, forty cubits high, surrounded by 40,000 
rahats, to whom the king offered worship and gifts, saying, that the 
wish of his heart was now accomplished. There then appeared an 
image of Konagama Budha, thirty cubits high, surrovmded by 30,000 
rahats ; and afterwards an image of Kasyapa Budha, twenty cubits 
high, accompanied by 20,000 rahats. When the image of Gotama 
Budha ajjpeared, eighteen cubits high, seated near the bo-tree, as 
when he had conquered Mara, the king and his 16,000 queens 


looked on in wonder, and made an offering to him of the whole of 
his dominions.* 

When Gotama Bodhisat was born in a former age, as Sama, son of 
the hermit Dukhula, he rendered every assistance to his parents, 
who had become blind when he was sixteen years of age. It hap- 
pened that, as he one day went for water to the river, the king of 
Benares, Piliyaka, entered the forest to hunt, and as Sama after 
ascending from the river was, as usual, surrounded by deer, the 
king let fly an arrow, which struck Sama just as he was placing 
the vessel to his shovilder. Feeling that he was wounded, he 
turned his face towards the spot where his parents dwelt, and said, 
"I have no enemy in this forest; I bear no enmity to any one;" 
though, at the same time, he vomited blood from his mouth. Thus 
he reflected, " I have omitted the exercise of maitri-bhawana, and 
some one has sent against me an arrow ; for what reason it can be 
I cannot tell, as my flesh is of ho use, neither my skin ; I must 
therefore make enquiry." After saying this to himself, he called 
out, " Who is it that has shot me ?" and when he learnt that it 
was the king, he related his history to the monarch, and said that 
his greatest grief arose from the thought that his blind parents 
would now have no one to support them, and would jierish. But 
when the king perceived the intensity of his grief, he promised that 
he would resign his kingdom, and himself become the slave of his 
parents, rendering unto them all needful assistance in the stead of 
their son. Soon afterwards Sama fell down senseless from the 
loss of blood ; but a dewi, who in the seventh birth previous to the 
present was his mother, having perceived that if she went to the 
spot important consequences would ensue from her interposition, 
left the dewa-loka, and remaining in the air near the king, without 
being visible, entreated him to go to the pansal and minister to the 
wants of the blind parents of Sama. The king was obedient, and 
and went to the place, where he informed the hermit and his wife 
that their son was slain. On hearing of his death they uttered loud 
lamentations, and requested to be taken to the place where he had 
fallen. They were therefore brought to it, when the mother, on 
placing her hand upon his breast, perceived that it was warm ; at 
which she rejoiced greatly, as she knew by this token that he was 
not dead. She therefore resolved upon repeating a sacha-kiriya for 
his restoration, and said, " If this Sama has in any previous period 

* Sadharnuntilaiikarc. 



obtained kusala, by the power of this virtue (sacha) may the conse- 
quences of this calamity be removed ; if from the time of his birth 
until now he has been continent and true, supported his parents, 
and excelled in the acquisition of merit ; if I have loved him more 
than my own life ; if we, his parents, possess any merit whatever ; — 
by the power of these virtues (sacha) may the poison pass away 
from the body of Sama, as the darkness vanishes at the rising of 
the sun." On the utterance of these words, Sama revived, and sat 
up ; after which the dewi also said, " If I have loved Sama more 
than any other being, by the power of this sacha may the poison of 
the arrow be destroyed." Then by the united sacha-kiriyas of the 
dewi and his parents Sama was restored to perfect health. The 
parents also received their sight, and the dewi repeated the ten 
virtues of a king to Piliyaka, by attending to which he was enabled 
to reign in righteousness, and was afterwards born in the dewa- 
loka, as Sama and his parents were in the brahma-loka.* 

This accident may appear to contradict the teachings of the bana, 
that th» exercise of bhawana is a protection from all evil ; but the 
Budhists endeavour to reconcile the two by the following arguments, 
so called. It was through the forgetfulness of Sama, they say, that 
he was slain, as he neglected to exercise the j^ower he possessed. 
Thus, a warrior, clothed in armour, enters into the battle, and 
remains unhurt amidst the pelting of the arrows ; it is not by the 
man, but by the armour, that the arrows are warded off, and pre- 
vented from hurting him. Or, a man who holds in his hand a 
certain medicinal root, thereby renders himself invisible ; but this 
virtue is attached to the root, and not to the man. Again, the man 
who is under the roof of a cave fears not the rain ; but it is the 
overhanging cave, and not the man, that prevents the rain from 
producing inconvenience. So also, the power of averting evil is 
attached to the exercise of bhawana, and not to the man ; and if he 
does not exercise it, the benefit is lost. 

The nature of the sachi kiriya will be further illustrated by the 
legend of Siwi, and that of the Fish-king, both of which have been 
translated by the Rev. D. J. Gogerly, and appear in the Ceylon 
Friend, vol. iv. page 138. They are taken from the Chariya Pitaka, 
one of the fifteen books forming the Khudugot division of the Sutra 
Pitaka. The work is attributed to Budha, and is composed in Pali 

* Milinda Prasna. 

xxi. ascetic rites. 277 

" Introduction. 

" All my transmigrations during four atsankyas and one hundred 
thousand kalpas have been to complete my preparation for becoming 
a Budha. Leaving my journeyings from birth to birth during the 
kalpas that are past, I will declare my transmigrations during the 
present one. 

" Legend of King Siwi. 

" I was once Siwi, king of Aritha, and sitting in my magnificent 
palace I thus thought : 

" There is no kind of treasure possessed by men Avhich I have not 
given in alms. Should any one beg from me my eyes, unhesita- 
tingly wovild I give them to him. 

'• Sakraya, the chief of the gods, sitting amidst his heavenly at- 
tendants, and knowing my thoughts, spake these words ; 

" The king Siwi, endued with great super-human power, sitting 
in his magnificent palace, and meditating on the various kinds of 
alms, does not perceive one that he has not given. 

" What are his feelings ? I will ascertain immediately. Wait 
imtil I know his mind. 

" He then assumed the form of a trembling, hoary-headed, 
wrinkled, decayed, and emaciated blind man, and approached the 

" Having taken this form, with his clasped hands raised to his 
forehead, he said ; 

" Great and just sovereign, the author of your country's pros- 
perity ! the fame of your almsgiving has ascended up, both to gods 
and men ; I have a boon to ask ; 

" I am become blind of both eyes ; give me one of yours, and 
retain the other yourself. 

" When 1 heard these words I immediately with a joyful and 
compassionate mind thus addressed the trembling one : 

" Ah ! acquainted with my reflections while sitting in my palace) 
thou hast come to solicit the gift of an eye : 

" My desires are accomplished ! my wish is fulfilled ! I shall this 
day give alms to a supplicant which I have not given before. 

" Come ! arise Siwika, be not unskilful ; hesitate not ! pluck out 
both my eyes and give them to the supplicant. 

" My slave Siwika being thus addressed, scooped out my two 
eyes and delivered them to the beggar. 


" When I proposed to give, when I gave, and after I had given 
this gift, I had no other design than that of becoming a Budha. 

" It was not that I had no regard for my two eyes ; my body was 
not displeasing to me ; but I delighted in becoming a Budha, and 
therefore gave my eyes. 

" Legend of the Fish-king. 

" At another time I was a fish-king in a large lake ; and during 
the summer the heat of the sun dried up the water of the lake. 

" Then the eagles, the kites, the cranes, and the crows, descend- 
ing by day and by night, devoured the fish. 

" I then thought, by what means can I deliver my relatives from 
this affliction which has befallen them ? 

" Reflecting on virtuous acts I perceived truth,* and saw that 
established in truth I could rescue my relations from this destruc- 

" Having thus reflected, I thought of the most noble doctrines of 
virtue which continue constantly in the world, and performed the 
satcha kiriya, (saying) 

" From the first period that I can remember, up to the present 
time, to my knowledge, I am not conscious of having wilfvilly in- 
jured any single being. 

" Through this true declaration, ye lightnings flash and thunders 
roar, and ye clouds pour down copious rains : deprive the crows of 
their prey ; let them mourn, but let the fish be delivered from 

" Consentaneously with my powerful satcha kiriya, the clouds 
uttered their thunders, and instantly the rains descended, filling the 
depths and overflowing the land. 

" Having performed this supreme truth-act, and by my most ex- 
cellent perseverance, (in virtue) being established in the glorious 
strength of truth, I caused the clouds to rain. 

" In the performance of the satcha I have no equal. This was 
my satcha paramita (the path of truth, one of the ten paths to be 
fully traversed before arriving at the dignity of a Budha.)" 

We learn from the Commentary that when Siwi had become blind 
he abdicated his kingdom and became a recluse, without regretting the 
performance of his benevolent act. In this situation he was again 
visited by the ruler of the dewas, who addressed him in the follow- 

« By the word satcha, truth, I apprehend the satcha Mriya is meant. . 


ing words : " Great king, almsgiving is not merely productive of 
benefits in a future state, but in the present state also. Therefore 
perform a satcha kiriya concerning (or on account of) the merit of 
your almsgiving, and by the power of that you will obtain eyes." 
In accordance with this advice he pronounced the following : 

" Have any come to beg, 
Supplicants of vai-ious castes ? 
"When any one begged from me, then 
He was delightful to my mind. 
By that true declaration. 
May an eye be produced to me ! " 
Upon this one eye was produced ; after which he said : 

" Did any one come to me to beg (saying) 
Give an eye to the Brahman ; 
To him I gave eyes, 
To the mendicant Brahman. 
Great was the joy I experienced : 
The delight was not small. 
By this true declaration 
May a second (eye) be produced to me ! " 

It is said by the learned translator* of these legends that we are 
not here to understand natural eyes, but a divine or spiritual vision, 
by which the whole world of sentient being became apparent ; but 
in this case how did Siwi see when he had only one divine eye ? 
Did he see one hemi-kosm only, and not the other ? Or, did he 
see all beings, but only by halves ? Or, did he see the whole of 
all beings, but in a sort of purblind manner ? These are grave 
questions for the Budhist schoolman. 

Another legend, taken from the same source, will complete our 
notice of the sacha kiriya. There was once a courtezan, Bindu- 
mati, who turned the course of the mighty Ganges by the force of 
this spell, founded upon the manner in which she exercised her base 
vocation. " The king" according to the original authority, " hear- 
ing the rushing sound of the refluent river, being greatly astonished, 
enquired of his chiefs ; Friends, why does the current of tlie great 
Ganges flow backwards } They replied : Great king, the courtezan, 
Bindumati, has recited the satcha kiriya, in consequence of which 
the Ganges flows back to its head. The astonished king hastened 
to the courtezan, and said : Is it true that by the satcha kiriya, you 
have turned the course of the Ganges ? When she replied : Yes, 
* The Rev. D. J. Gogcrly; Ceylon Friend, vol. ii. p. 116. 


your majesty: he asked: Whence have you that power? Who 
will receive your declaration ? By what power can an insignificant 
person like you cause the stream of the Ganges to flow backward ? 
she replied : Great king, I caused the stream to flow hack by the 
power of truth (satcha). The king said: What power of truth 
have you, a thief, vile, immodest, sinful, an overstepper of all re- 
strictions, one who leads astray the blindly lascivious ? The cour- 
tezan confessed that she was all the king had named, but said that 
it was by the follo^ving truth-spell she had turned the stream of the 
Ganges, and that by the same power she could overturn the heavens ; 
' Does any one give me wealth, be he a prince, a brahman, a mer- 
chant, a labourer, or of any other tribe ; Avhatever they may be, I 
receive them equally : the prince is not preferred, the laboiu-er is 
not despised : contented, and free from regarding pleasure or pain 
I follow the owner of wealth.' " According to this principle, beings 
the most degraded may obtain the power to work the most stupen- 
dous miracles ; and acts of the grossest iniquity may be done with- 
out guilt, if the mind be immoved during their commission. 


As the subject upon Avhich we now enter is one of the qusestiones 
vexatce of Budhisni, and is in itself of deej) interest, a larger space 
will be required for its elucidation ; and as no western opinion will 
be regarded as of any authority, we shall confine ourselves almost 
entirely to extracts from native writers. In the former pages of this 
work we have received nirwana as meaning simply, the cessation 
of existence. 

1 . The Paths. — There are four paths, margga, an entrance into any 
of which secures, either immediately or more remotely, the attainment 
of nirwana. They are: — 1. Sowan, 2. Sakradagami. 3. Ana- 
gami. 4. Arya. Each path is divided into two grades : — 1. The 
perception of the path. 2. Its fruition, or enjoyment, margga-ph'ala. 

(1.) The path sowan, or srotapatti, is so called because it is the 
first stream that is entered before arriving at nirwana. It is divided 
into twenty-four sections, and after it has been entered, there can 
be only seven more births between that period and the attainment 
of nirwana, which may be in any world but the four hells. 


(2.) The path sakradagami is so called because he who enters it 
will receive one more birth. He may enter this path in the world of 
men, and afterwards be born in a dewa-loka; or he may enter it in 
a dewa-loka, and afterwards be born in the world of men. It is 
divided into twelve sections. 

(3.) The path anagami is so called because he who enters it will 
not again be born in a kama-loka ; he may, by the apparitional 
birth, enter a brahma-loka, and from that world attain nirwana. 
This path is divided into forty-eight sections. 

(4.) The path arya, or aryahat, is so called because he who enters 
it has overcome or destroyed, as an enemy, all klesha. It is divided 
into twelve sections. 

When the fruit-tree is cut down, the latent fruit that is in it, 
which has not yet appeared, but which would appear in due time if 
it were permitted to remain, is destroyed. In like manner, by 
margga-bhawana the klesha is destroyed that would otherwise 
have continued to exist and would have brought forth fruit. 

They who have entered into any of the paths can discern the 
thoughts of all in the same or the preceding paths. Thus, he who 
has entered the path sowan can know the thoughts of any being in 
the same path, but not those of any one in the three other paths. 
He who has entered the path sakradagami can know the thoughts 
of any being in the same path or in sowan, but not in the two other 
paths. He who has entered the path anagami can know the 
thoughts of any being in the same path, or in sowan and sakrada- 
gami, but not the thoughts of one in the fourth path, or the rahat. 
The rahat can know the thoughts of any one, in any situation 

The wisdom necessary for the reception of the paths is called 
gotrabhu-gnyana. ^Vhen the paths are entered the wisdom that is 
received by those who have made this attainment is called gnyana- 
dassana-sudhi. A man goes at night to watch the conjunction of 
the moon and certain stars ; he looks up, but the moon is hid by 
clouds ; then a wind arises and drives away the clouds, so that the 
moon becomes visible. The klesha that darkens the mind is like a 
cloud ; the anuloma-chitta is like the wind ; the looking up is like 
the sight of nirwana; the moon is like nirwana itself; and the pas- 
sing away of the clouds is like the revealing of nirwana by the wis- 
dom called gotrabhu-gnyana. The wind has power to disperse the 
cloud, but it cannot see the moon; so the exercise of anuloma 


drives away darkness from the mind, but it is insuflftcient for the 
seeing of nirwana. The man who looks at the moon can see it 
when the clouds have passed away, but he has no power to disperse 
the clouds ; in like manner, it is gotrabhu-gnyana that reveals nir- 
wana, but it has no power to disperse the klesha that darkens the 
mind. When nirwana has been revealed, gotrabhu-gnyana is of no 
further use ; it is like the guide who is dismissed at the end of the 

The rahats can receive no further birth ; they cannot be borri 
again, either as dewas, brahmas, men, yakas, pretas, or asurs ; thq 
power by which conception is received is entirely broken ; the path! 
of successive existence is destroyed ; all cleaving to existence is cut 
off; all the sanskharas, the elements of existence, are destroyed; 
merit and demerit are destroyed ; the winyanas are closed ; and as 
the principle of life in the seed is destroyed when exjiosed to the 
influence of fire, so, in the rahats, the principle of evil desire is era- 
dicated ; all connection with the world is completed and done. 

To say that any one has " seen nirwana," is to say that he has 
become a rahat. 

The difference between him who has raga, or desire, and him 
who has not, is this — the first is ajjh&sita, or cleaves to existence ; 
the second is anajjhosita, he does not cleave to existence. As re- 
gards eating and drinking they may both appear to enjoy that 
which is good and reject that which is evil ; but when the former 
eats food he distingviishes that which is bitter or piangent, avoids it, 
and prefers that which is sweet and agreeable ; the latter also dis- 
tinguishes one flavour from another, but he does not desire one de- 
scription of food more than another. 

There are some persons who obtain the rahatship instantaneously, 
whilst others can only obtain it by a slow process ; they must give 
alms, make offerings, study the bana, and exercise the necessary 
discipline ; but this difference arises from the merit obtained by the 
former class in previous births. Thus, one man has a field already 
prepared ; he can sow his seed at once ; he need not make ditches 
or fences, or spend his time in any similar work ; but there is ano- 
ther man, who has no field prepared, and before he can sow his 
seed there is much labour to be undergone. Again, there are man- 
goes on a lofty tree ; a rishi can take them at once, by coming 
through the air ; but a man who has not this power, must wait until 
he has cut down sticks and creepers and made a ladder. Again, a 


strong man at once executes his lord's commands, but where there 
is not this strength there must be the united labour of many indivi- 
duals. In like manner, some ascetics obtain the rahatshij) at once, 
whilst others are unable to obtain it without first attending to the 
various exercises that are enjoined. 

In the time of Budha there was a novice who was unable in the 
space of many months to learn a single stanza of bana ; in conse- 
quence, his preceptor, who was his own uncle, sent him away from 
the wihara. But the uncle, who was exceedingly sorrowful on 
account of having thus to dismiss his nephew, was met by Budha, 
who enquired why he was so sad. When informed of the cause, 
he told the uncle that in a former age, during the time of Kasyapa 
Budha, his nephew had derided a priest who was saying bana, 
which now prevented him from learning it ; but that in another 
birth when he was a king, he was one day riding through the city, 
with his -attendants, and as his face perspired freely he wijied it 
with his robe, reflecting at the same time on the impermanence of 
the body. For this act of merit he would now be enabled to be- 
come a rahat ; and Budha therefore directed that he should look 
towards the sun, and call out " Rajoharanang, rajoharanang ; may 
the dust (of evil desire) pass away ! " At the moment in which the 
direction of Budha was carried into eff"ect, the sage caused a piece 
of cloth to appear, that the nephew might be enabled to wipe his 
face therewith ; and by this means he became a rahat. 

The king of Sagal said to Nagasena, " You have declared that 
when a laic becomes a rahat, he must, on the same day, either enter 
the priesthood or attain nirwana ; now we will suppose that a laic 
becomes a rahat, but there is no one qualified to repeat the Kam- 
mawachan, the formulary used at the ordination of a priest ; and 
there is no alms-bowl or robe to be presented ; could such a one 
admit himself to the priesthood, or would he remain a laic, or would 
some rahat possessing the power of irdhi come through the air to 
ordain him, or would he attain nirwana ; how would it be ? " Na- 
gasena replied, " He could not ordain himself, as this would be 
contrary to rule ; nor could he remain a laic ; so that either some 
one must come to admit him to the priesthood, or he must attain 
nirwana," Milinda : " Why is it so ? " Nagasena : " There arc 
many evils connected with the state of a laic ; it is therefore a state 
of weakness ; and on this accoimt the rahat must at once cither be- 
come a priest or attain nirwana. But no blame can on this account 


be attached to the rahatship ; it arises from the weakness of the state 
of the laic. In like manner, a man eats to repletion of good food, 
and because he cannot digest it, dies ; in this case the fault is not 
to be attributed to the food, but to the want of power in the faculty 
of digestion. Were a large stone to be suspended by a slender 
cord, it would break ; but no one could say that it was the fault of 
the stone. Again, were a man to be made king whose personal 
prowess was inferior, who had no powerful retainers, who was 
neither of the royal caste nor a brahman, of mean birth, and desti- 
tute of merit, it would only lead to his destruction, as he would not 
be able to uphold the dignity of his elevated position ; but the fault 
would be in the man, not in the royal office. It is the same with 
the rahat ; he cannot remain a laic, because that state is one of 
weakness and evil ; it is insufficient to bear the weight of the great- 
ness with which the rahat is invested." 

There are &ve great powers, called abhignyawas, attached to the 
rahatship ; but not possessed by all rahats in an equal degree. 1. 
Irdhiwidhagnyana, or asrawakshayagnyana ; the power of irdhi. 
2. Diwyasrotagnyana ; the power to hear all sounds, whether dis- 
tant or near, whether made by dewas or men. 3. Chetopariya- 
gnyana, or parachittawijanagnyana; the power to know the thoughts 
of other beings. 4. Purweniwasanusmertignyana ; the power of 
knowing what births have been received in former ages. 5. Sat- 
wayange-chatuppatignyana ; the power of knowing what births will 
be received in future ages. 

The divine eye of the rahat can see that which cannot be per- 
ceived by the eye of flesh, as it can see any being whatever, whe- 
ther in hell, upon earth, or in a dewa-loka. The manner in which 
it acts is entirely different to the vision of those who have not en- 
tered the paths. It is not possessed to the same extent by ail 
beings, but differs in degree, in proportion to the attainments of its 
possessor. There are many things that are too subtle or fleet to be 
perceived by one being with this gift, that may nevertheless be seen 
by another who is endowed with it in a superior degree. The 
lowest power is to be able to see things that are in existence at the 
time when it is exercised ; but the being who possesses this power 
may not be able to see that which has only existed at some previous 
period, and has passed away or been destroyed ; and he may not be 
able to discern objects at the very instant of their formation, from 
their being so exceedingly minute or momentary. It will perhaps 

XXir. NIEWANA. 285 

be said that this degree of power is of no benefit ; but its value is 
great, as it enables the possessor to see the thoughts of others, and 
to know the consequences of any course of action, whether it be 
good or evil, so as to be able to tell what kind of birth will be next 

They who possess divine eyes are enabled rightly to learn the 
evil of demerit, from seeing the torments that arc endured by the 
beings in hell, and by them alone can this evil be properly apj^re- 

They who have overcome successive existence know that they 
will not be reborn, because they know that the cause of birth, which 
is the cleaving to existence, has been destroyed ; even as the hus- 
bandman knows when he has reaped his grain, that his storehouse 
is full. 

All beings who possess this wisdom, when they look at the past, 
do not see the same number of previous births. The extent of the 
number seen varies according to the merit of the individual. The 
Budhas can see any birth, of any being whatever ; the tirttaka un- 
believers can see only a few. The exercise of this faculty is not 
therefore like that of the sense of sight, which merely distinguishes 
colours, as to whether they be red, or blue, or yellow. It can only 
be acquired by him who practises the dhyanas ; and the acuteness 
of the power wdll be in proportion to the manner in which attention 
is paid to these and other ascetical exercises. 

The power of hearing in him who is pure, is freed by determined 
resolution and meditation from the evils produced by bile, phlegm, 
and wind. By this means it becomes perfect, as the grain flourishes 
when sown in ground free from grasses and weeds ; and the power 
to hear any sound may thus be obtained, from the roaring of the 
lion to the gentlest whisper, whether near or at a distance. 

The king of Sagal (in reference to the supernatural powers of 
the rahats), said to Nagasena, " Can any one who has the fleshly 
body of a man go to Uturukuru, or to the other great continents, or 
to the dewa and brahma-lokas r" Nagasena replied, " It is pos- 
sible for one who has a body composed of the four elements to visit 
the places you have named." Milinda : " In what way can this be 
done ?" Nagasena : " Can you, at your will, leap from the ground, 
say to the height of a span or a cubit ?"' Milinda : " With case I 
can leap eight cubits high." Nagasena : " How do you do tliis ?" 
Milinda : " I determine to leap ; through this determination my 


body becomes as it were buoyant, and I rise from the ground." 
Nagasena : " Just so the priest who has the power of irdhi deter- 
mines to go to such a place ; by the determination of his mind his 
body becomes as it were imponderous, and he is enabled thereby to 
pass through the air." 

Again the king of Sagal said to Nagasena, " Can a rahat lose his 
memory, or become bewildered?" Nagasena replied, "He may 
become lost in abstraction, or from syncope ; but he cannot in any 
other way lose his senses." Milinda : " Can he do that which is 
wrong, apatti ?" Nagasena : " Through want of attention he might 
eat after the turning of the sun, and thus transgress the precept 
Avikala bhojana, &c., in which case he would have, to go to some 
priest who was free from blame, and sitting on his heels and putting 
his hands to his forehead, he would have to declare that it was not 
his intention thus to transgress in future ; by which act he would 
become free from censure. Into such faults as these a rahat may 
fall." Milinda : " Is it from want of respect for the precept that he 
falls into this error ?" Nagasena : " No ; it is not from this cause." 
Milinda : " Then it must be that he loses his memory." Nagasena : 
" The faults that are committed among sentient beings are divided 
into two classes, lokawadda and pragnyaptiwadda. The first class 
includes such transgressions as the taking of life, the saying of that 
which is not true, and scepticism ; there are ten in all, called the 
dasa-akusal. The second class includes such transgressions as can 
be committed by the priests alone. Thus, it is not forbidden to the 
laity to eat after the turning of the sun, nor to root up grass and 
trees, nor to make sport when bathing ; but these things are for- 
bidden to the priests. There are some priests who are suska widar- 
saka, of dry discernment ; they are unable to acquire the power of 
comprehending all things. Such a rahat, though free from all evil 
desire, may not know the name of a man or woman whom he has 
not seen before ; he may mistake a road with which he is not ac- 
quainted ; he does not possess the sadabhignya, or five modes of 
supernatural knowledge. A rahat of this description may commit 
a fault that is pragnyapti ; but he cannot commit any of the ten 
crimes forming the class called lokawadda. It is only the supreme 
Budhas and Pase-Budhas that are entirely free from every kind of 
apatti ; all other classes of rahats are liable to the commission of 
the faults that are called pragnyapti." 

The rahats are subject to the endurance of pain of body, such as 


proceeds from hunger, disease, &c. ; but they are entirely free from 
sorrow or pain of mind. For this reason : that which is the cause 
of the endurance of pain (food) by the body, still continues, or its 
use is not intermitted, and therefore bodily pain continues ; but that 
which causes the endurance of pain (evil desire) by the mind, is 
destroyed, and therefore mental pain is destroyed. The same truth 
was declared by Budha. 

On another occasion Budha said, that all sentient beings arc 
afraid of punishment, and that all have a dread of death ; but when 
he said this, those who have become rahats were excepted, as he 
declared at another time that the rahats have entirely overcome 
fear. In like manner, the chief of a village commands all his people 
to be called together near his house, and when they are assembled 
he is told that all are come ; nevertheless the sick, the lame, the 
women, and the slaves are not there : though it is said that all arc 
come, it is understood that many are absent. 

It may still be asked. If there be the endurance of bodily pain, 
why is not nirwana attained at once ? This is the reply : the rahats 
know neither desire nor aversion ; they do not desire to live, nor do 
they wish to die ; they wait patiently for the appointed time. This 
was the declaration of Seriyut : — " I am like a servant awaiting the 
command of his master, ready to obey it, whatever it may be ; I 
await the appointed time for the cessation of existence ; I have no 
wish to live ; I have no wish to die ; desire is extinct." 

The 500 rahats who accompanied Budha, when he was attacked 
by the elephant in the street of Rajagaha, all fled away on the ap- 
proach of the animal ; but it was not from fear ; neither did they 
wish to leave the great teacher to his fate. They intended thereby 
to give Ananda the opportunity of displaying his devotion, as he 
went to encounter the elephant alone, until commanded by Budha 
to retire. The earth, when it is ploughed, or its surface is broken, 
or from the seas, rocks, and mountains it bears, is unmoved by fear, 
because it has nothing through which fear can be produced. It is 
the same with the rahats. They have nothing through which fear 
can be produced ; the instrumentality by which alone it can work is 
destroyed. Were a hundred thousand men, armed with various 
weapons, to assault a single rahat, he would be unmoved, and en- 
tirely free from fear. 

The king of Sagal said to Nagasena, " You have declared that 
the raliats feel no pain of mind, though they are still subject to pain 


of body ; but does not the mind subsist because of the body ? Is 
the rahat without authority, mastery, or suiiremacy over the body r" 
Nagasena replied, "Great king, it is even so." Milinda : "But 
this does not appear to be right ; even the bird exercises the lord- 
ship over its own nest." Nagasena: "There are ten things that 
in every birth accompany the body ; colour, heat, hunger, thirst, 
feces, urine, sleep, disease, decay, and death : over these things the 
rahat exercises no peculiar power." Milinda : " Will you explain 
to me how it is that this occurs ?" Nagasena : " Because of the 
earth all beings exist ; but the earth cannot be commanded or con« 
controlled by these beings. In like manner, because of the body the 
mind exists ; but the mind cannot command or control the body." 
Milinda : " How is it then that others have pain both of body and 
mind ?" Nagasena : " Because there has been no accomplishment 
of widarsana, and the other exercises by which the mind is brought 
into subjection. There is a hungry bull that is tied only by a small 
withe, which it breaks in its anger, and then runs away. In the 
same way, when the mind is not under discipline, it becomes irri- 
tated, breaks away from restraint, and disturbs the body, and then 
there is crying, fear, and the voice of sorrow ; thus there is pain 
both of body and mind. But the mind of the rahat is under proper 
discipline ; it does not disturb the body ; it is bound as to a pillar 
by samadhi and other exercises ; it is filled with the pleasure of 
nirwana ; and the rahat is therefore free from pain of mind, whilst he 
is still subject to pain of body." Milinda : " But would it not be a 
thing to be esteemed as a wonder if, when the body is disquieted or 
agitated, the mind were to remain tranquil ? Explain to me how 
this can be." Nagasena : " The branches of a tree are shaken by 
the storm ; but the trunk remains unmoved. In like manner, as 
the mind of the rahat is bound to the firm pillar of samadhi by the 
cord of the four paths, it remains unmoved, even when the body is 
suffering pain." 

Upon another occasion Nagasena related to Milinda the charac- 
teristics of the five gradations of being ; and from his details we 
are enabled to learn more clearly the specific difference that is 
supposed to exist among the various orders of men, as regards their 
state of preparedness for the reception of nirwana. 

(1.) There is the unwise being, who is imder the influence of 
klesha, or evil desire, and of enmity, ignorance, and impurity ; he 
has not attained to the fruition of the paths ; he has not attended to 


the precepts, by which he might overcome impurity ; his mind is 
not disciplined to the exercise of the tranquillity of samadhi ; he has 
not received the wisdom produced by abstract meditation. The 
mind of such a being is therefore gross, slow, because he is not 
accustomed to the more profound exercises of abstraction. Thus, 
there is a clump of bamboos that as they grow embrace each other 
and become entangled ; they have many knots, and the branches are 
twisted together into one mass. Now, if one of these trees be cut 
down at the root, the process of jjulling it away will be slow. 
Why } Because the leaves, knots, and branches are all entangled 
together in such confusion that they cannot be extricated. In the 
same way, when any one is under the influence of the errors that 
characterise the unw ise man, his mind is heavy, slow. Why ? Be- 
cause it is entangled in the meshes of evil desire. This is the first 

(2.) There is the being who has entered the path Sowan, unto 
whom the doors of the four hells are shut ; he has maintained the 
true profession, and entirely approves of the doctrines of the great 
teacher ; he has thus arrived at the fruition of the first of the paths ; 
he also rejects the error called sakkaya-drishti, which teaches, I am, 
this is mine ; he has no doubts as to the reality of the Budhas ; and 
he see's that the practices enjoined by the Budhas must be attended 
to if nirwana is to be gained ; so that as regards these three doc- 
trines his mind is free, not bound, but light, quick ; yet, as to the 
other paths it is still slow, gross, entangled. Thus, in three de- 
grees it is pure ; but in all others it is yet under the influence of 
impurity. How ? When the bamboo that has been cut down is 
cleared for the space of three knots, it might be pulled away to this 
distance with ease, were it not that it is entangled by the upper 
branches that yet remain. In the same way, the being that has 
entered Sowan is free as to the three doctrines that have been men- 
tioned, but he is slow, heavy, and entangled as to the rest, which 
he has not yet embraced. This is the second gradation. 

(3.) There is the being that has entered the path Sakradagami 
(from sakrat, once, and agami, came), so called because he will once 
again receive birth in the world of men ; he has rejected the three 
errors overcome by the man who has entered Sowan, and he is also 
saved from the evils of kama-raga, and the wishing evil to others. 
Thus, in five degrees his mind is pure ; but as to the rest it is en- 
tangled, slow. How } When five knots of the bamboo have been 



cleared, it might easily be drawn thus far, were it not held by the 
upper branches that are yet entangled. In the same way, the man 
who has entered the path Sakradagami is free as to the five par- 
ticulars ; but as to the rest, he is still bound, heavy, dull. This is 
the third gradation. 

(4.) There is the being that has entered the path Anagami (from 
an, negative, and agami, came) ; he does not again return to the 
world of men ; he is free from the five errors overcome by the man 
who has entered Sakradagami, and also from the five sanyojanas 
(so called hecause the being who is subject to further repetitions of 
existence is bound to them), evil desire, ignorance, doubt, the pre- 
cepts of the sceptics, and hatred. Thus in ten degrees his mind is 
pure ; but as to the path he has not yet entered, the rahatship, it is 
still slow, heavy, dull, entangled. How ? It is like the tree that 
has ten knots cleared, but the rest allowed to remain. This is the 
fourth gradation. 

(5.) There is the being who has entered the fourth path, and be- 
come a rahat ; he has destroyed the four asrayas (kama, bhawa, 
drishti, and awidya) ; he is free from the impurity of klesha, and has 
arrived at the fruition of the four paths ; he has vomited ujd klesha, 
as if it were an indigested mass ; he has cast it away as if it were a 
burden ; he has arrived at the happiness which is obtained from the 
sight of nirwana ; he is no longer subject to the repetition of exist- 
ence ; he is endowed with the four supernatural powers of the 
rahats ; he has arrived at the most exalted state of the srawakas ; 
and in consequence of these attainments his mind is light, free, 
quick towards the rahatship, and all that precedes it ; but heavy, 
bound, dull, as to that which is peculiar to the Pase-Budhas. This 
is the fifth gradation. 

(6.) There is the being called a Pase-Budha (in Pali, Pratyeka- 
Budha) ; he has attained the high state of privilege that he enjoys, 
by his own unaided exertions, as he has had no teacher, no one to in- 
struct him ; he is called pratyeka, severed, or separated, and is soli- 
tary, alone, like the unicorn ; thus his mind is light, pure, free 
towards the Pase-Budhaship ; but dull, heavy, bound, towards the 
state of the supreme Budhas ; he has learnt that which belongs to 
his own order, but he understands not the five kinds of knowledge 
that are perceived by the supreme Budhas and by no other being; 
he knows not the thoughts of others ; he has not the power to see 
all things, nor to know all things ; in these respects his mind is 


heavy. Tims a man whether by day or night, arrives at the brink 
of a small stream, into which he descends without fear, in order that 
he may pass to the other side. Rut at another time he comes to a 
river that is deep and broad; there are no stepping-stones by whicli 
he can cross ; he cannot see to the opposite bank ; it is like the 
ocean ; in consequence of these obstacles he is afraid to venture 
into the water, he cannot cross the stream. In the same way the 
Pase-Budha is free as to that which is connected with his own 
order, but bound as to all that is peculiar to the supreme Budhas. 
This is the sixth gradation. 

(7.) There is the being who knows all things; he is endowed 
with the ten powers ; he has the four waisaradyas, viz. he has at- 
tained the supreme Budhaship, he has entirely overcome evil desire ; 
he has ascertained all the hindrances to the reception of nirwana, 
and he knows fully all that is excellent and good ; he has the eigh- 
teen properties of the Budhas ; he has destroyed the infinite klesha ; 
he can perform the wonderful pratiharyas ; he is the supreme Budha, 
and towards all that belongs to the supreme Budhaship his mind is 
swift, fleet, quick. Thus, there is a garment made of the finest silk 
or cotton, or of hair ; if against this garment a sharp, straight arrow 
is shot, from a bow that requires a thousand men to pull it, will it 
not most certainly be pierced, and this with the greatest ease ? 
Why ? Because of the fineness of the cloth, the sharpness of the 
arrow, and the strength of the bowman. In the same way, the 
mind of the supreme Budha is swift, quick, piercing ; because he is 
infinitely pure. This is the seventh gradation of mind. 
' 2. Ninvdna. — Nirwana is the destruction of all the elements of 
existence. In this way. The unwise being who has not yet 
arrived at a state of purity, or who is subject to future birth, over- 
come by the excess of evil desire, rejoices in the organs of sense, 
ayatana, and their relative objects, and commends them. The 
ayatanas therefore become to him like a rapid stream to carry him 
onward toward the sea of repeated existence ; they are not released 
from old age, decay, death, sorrow, &c. But the being who is 
purified, perceiving the evils arising from the sensual organs and 
their relative objects, does not rejoice therein, nor does he commend 
them, or allow himself to be swallowed up by them. By the de- 
struction of the 108 modes of evil desire he has released himself 
from birth, as from the jaws of an alligator ; he has overcome all 
attachment to outward objects : he does not regard the unautho- 

u 2 


vised precepts, nor is he a sceptic ; and lie knows that there is no 
ego, no self. By overcoming these four errors, he has released 
himself from the cleaving to existing objects. By the destruction 
of the cleaving to existing objects he is released from birth, whether 
as a brahma, man, or any other being. By the destruction of birth 
he is released from old age, decay, death, sorrow, &c. All the 
afflictions connected with the repetition of existence are overcome. 
\Thus all the principles of existence are annihilated, and that anni- 
hilation is nirwana. 

In the Asangkrata-sutra, Gotama has set forth the properties of 
nirwana. It is the end of sangsara, or successive existence ; the 
arriving at its opposite shore ; its completion. Those who attain 
nirwana are few. It is very subtle, and is therefore called suk- 
shama ; it is free from decay, and therefore called ajaraya ; it is 
free from delay, the gradual developement of events, and therefore 
called nisprapancha ; it is pure, and therefore called wisudhi; it is 
tranquil, and therefore called kshanta ; it is firm, stable, and there- 
fore called sthirawa ; it is free from death, and therefore called 
amurta ; its blessedness is great, and it is therefore called siwa ; it 
is not made or created, but supernatural, and therefore called 
abbhuta ; it is free from government or restraint, and therefore 
called aniti ; it is free from sorrow, and therefore called awyapaga ; 
and it is free from the evils of existence, and therefore called tana. 

It cannot be predicated of nirwana that it has ceased to be, or 
that its existence is past ; it is not a thing accomplished, or a rela- 
tion to past time ; nor is it a substance. 

The man who has not attained nirwana may nevertheless become 
acquainted with its character. In this way. It may be known 
that those who have their ears, noses, hands, and feet cut off, suffer 
great pain, by those who have not undergone the same amputation 
of the limbs, from their tears and the cries that they utter. In like 
manner, from the joyful exclamations of those who have seen nir- 
wana, its character may be known by those who have not made 
the same attainment. 

All sentient beings will not receive nirwana. But if any one 
attain the knowledge that is proper to be acquired ; if he learn the 
universality of sorrow ; if he overcome that which is the cause of 
sorrow ; and if he practise that which is proper to be observed ; by 
him the possession of nirwana, nirwana-sampatti, will be seciired. 

Nirwawa is dharmma bhisamaya, the end or completion of reli- 
gion y its entire accomplishment. 


One day, in order to know what would be the reward of the king 
of Kosala, on account of the ahns he gave at the request of the 
queen Mallika, the prince Sumana went to the Jetawana wihara, 
and said to Gotama, " Sire, there are two of your disciples, equal in 
purity, wisdom, and the observance of the precepts ; but the one 
gives to others of the food he eats, and the other does not ; should 
both be born in a dewa-loka, what will be the difference in their 
position?" Budha replied, "There will be a difference in five 
ways ; the charitable disciple will have a longer life, and greater 
splendour, beauty, enjoyment, and honour."' The prince enquired, 
" How will it be if they are born in the world of men ? " Budha 
said that it would be the same. He then enquired, " How will it 
be if they both become priests ? " And the sage replied, " The 
one will receive all that he requires without toil or effort in the 
same way as Bakkula, Siwali, and other priests." The prince then 
said, " How will it be if they become rahats and see nirwana.^" and 
Gotama replied, " There will be no difference whatever." 

There were two priests who were brothers. One of them, on a 
certain occasion, having said bana, went to his own residence, with 
the other priests. Whilst in the hall of ambulation he saw the 
full moon shining from a cloudless sky ; and as he thought within 
himself that thus jiure was his own mind ; he asked, " How long 
shall I continue thus ? '' He then enquired if the priests had seen 
any one attain nirwana. Some replied that they had seen the rahats 
attain nirwana whilst seated upon a chair or couch ; and others that 
they had seen it attained whilst the rahats were sitting in the air. 
The priest said that they should now see it attained in a different 
manner ; and having made a mark in the path along which he 
walked, he said, that when he reached that place it would be 
attained. And it so happened, that when he arrived at that spot, 
in walking from one end of the hall to the other, he attained nir- 
wana the moment that his foot touched the mark he had made 
upon the ground. 

The king of Sagal said to Nagasena, " There are some things in 
the world that are called karmniaja, as they come into existence 
because of karmma; others that are called irtuja, as they come into 
existence because of the season or time ; and others that are called 
hetuja, as they come into existence because of hetu ; now is there 
anything that is neither karmmaja, irtuja, nor hetuja ? " Nagasena 
replied, " Space and nirwana arc neither karmmaja, irtuja, nor he- 


tuja." Milinda : " Do not say that which is contrary to the teach- 
ing of Budha, nor reply without thought." Nagasena : " Why do 
you speak to me thus ? " Milinda : " You say that nirwana is 
akarmmaja, ahirtuja, and ahetuja. But has not Budha, in a hun- 
dred thousand different ways, declared to the srawakas that an en- 
trance into the arya-margga (the fourth path, that of the rahats), 
secures the accomplishment of nirwana (or is to be attained for that 
purpose) ? Then how is it you say that nirwana is neither karm- 
maja, irtiija, nor hetuja ? " Nagasena : " Budha has said this : but 
he has not said that for the production of nirwana there is any 
hetu." Milinda : " Venerable sir, you say that Budha has declared 
that the arya-margga is the cause, hetu, of the accomplishment of 
nirwana, and yet you say also that nirwana is without a cause, ahe- 
tuja ; I am confounded ; I go from darkness into deeper darkness : 
I am in a forest ; I go from an entangled thicket into a thicket more 
entangled ; if there is a cause for the attributes or accompaniments 
of nirwana, there must also be a cause for the production of nir- 
wana. The son must have a father ; that father must have had 
another father. The scholar must have a teacher ; that teacher 
must have had another teacher. The bud must have a producing 
seed ; that seed must have had another producing seed. In like 
manner, if there is a cause for the accomplishment of nirwana, there 
must also be a cause for its production." Nagasena : " Nirwana is 
not a thing that can be produced ; and therefore it has not been 
said by Budha that it has a cause." Milinda : " This may be true ; 
but explain to me how it is." Nagasena: "Then bend your ear 
in a proper manner, and pay attention. Can a man, by his natural 
strength, go from this city of Sagal to the forest of Himala?"' 
Milinda : " Yes." Nagasena : " But could any man, by his natu- 
ral strength, bring the forest of Himala to this city of Sagal?" 
Milinda : " No." Nagasena : " In like manner, though the fruition 
of the paths may cause the accomplishment of nirAvana, no cause by 
which nirwana is produced can be declared. A man may, by his 
natural strength, go in a ship to the other side of the sea ; but he 
cannot, in the same manner, bring the sea to Sagal. In like maniier 1 
the path that leads to nirwana may be pointed out, but not any; 
cause for its production. Why ? Because that which constitutes; 
nirwana, nirwana-dharmma, is beyond all computation, asankyata,.| 
a mystery not to be understood." Milinda: "Is it because nir-i 
wana is produced by neither merit nor demerit that it is beyond i 


coniprelicnsion ? " Nagasena , " Yes ; as nirwana is not jjrofliicecl 
by cither merit or demerit ; as it is not jiroduced from any hetu, 
like trees and other similar things ; as it is not caused by irtu, sea- 
son or time, like the rocks, Maha Meru, &.c. it is called asankyata. 
As it is entirely free from evil desire, wana, it is called nirwana. It 
is not caused by Sekra, Maha Brahma, or any other being. It can- 
not be said that it is produced, nor that it is not produced ; that it 
is past, or future, or present ; nor can it be said that it is the seeing 
of the eye, or the hearing of the ear, or the smelling of the nose, or 
the tasting of the tongue, or the feeling of the body." Milinda : 
" Then you speak of a thing that is not ; you merely say that nir- 
wana is nirwana ; therefore there is no nirwana." Nagasena : 
" Great king, nirwana is ; it is a perception of the mind ; the pure, 
delightful nirwana, free from ignorance, awidya, and evil desire, 
trishnawa, is perceived by the rahats who enjoy the fruition of the 
paths." Milinda : " If there be any comparison by which the 
nature or jjroperties of nirwana can be rendered apparent, be 
pleased thus to explain them." Nagasena : " There is the wind ; 
but can its colour be told ? Can it be said that it is blue, or any 
other colour ? Can it be said that it is in such a place ; or that it 
is small, or great, or long, or short ? " Milinda : " We cannot say 
that the wind is thus ; it cannot be taken into the hand, and 
squeezed. Yet the wind is. We know it ; because it pervades 
the heart, strikes the body, and bends the trees of the foi'est ; but 
we cannot explain its nature, or tell what it is." Nagasena : " Even 
so, nirwana is ; destroying the infinite sorrow of the world, and 
presenting itself as the chief happiness of the world ; but its attri- 
butes or properties cannot be declared." 

Again, the king of Sagal said to Nagasena, " Will all who obey 
the precepts attain nirwana, or arc there some who are not able ? " 
Nagasena replied, " Those who are born as quadrupeds, pretas, or 
scejjtics, are unable (in that birth) to attain nirwana ; as well as 
those who commit the five great sins; those who leave the doctrines 
of the Budlias and embrace those of the tirttakas ; those who force 
a priestess ; those who have the opportunity of hearing bana but 
neglect it; those who arc carried away by the objects of sense; 
and children who arc under seven years of age." Milinda : " The 
rest may be all right, but why cannot children attain nirwana ? Are 
they not free from the three evils, raga, dwesa, and moha ; as well 
as from pride, scepticism, j)assion, and evil reasoning.' Then why 


are they excluded ? " Nagasena : " If the child were able to 
understand that which is right, and reject that which is wrong, he 
might attain nirwana ; but his faculties of thought are weak ; he 
cannot with a mind so limited comprehend that which is vast and 
endless. In like manner, no man, by his natural strength, can root 
up Maha Meru ; nor can the whole of the extended earth be irri- 
gated by a few drops of water, nor the whole world be illuminated 
by a firefly."' 

Again, the king of Sagal said to Nagasena, " Is the joy of nir- 
wana unmixed, or is it associated with sorrow ? " The priest re- 
plied that it is unmixed satisfaction, entirely free from sorrow. 
Milinda : " This declaration I cannot believe : and for this reason. 
He who seeks nirwana is subject to pain, both of body and mind ; 
in all situations he is pursued by sorrow ; pain is communicated by 
every organ of sense ; and he sees that he has to leave much wealth, , 
and many relatives and friends. Those who possess the advantages 
of this world are thereby rendered joyful ; there are things pleasant 
to the sight and other senses ; and in this way regret is caused, 
when they have to be left ; on which account I think that the joy 
of nirwana cannot be unmixed." Nagasena : " It is nevertheless 
true that the joy of nirwana is unmixed. Is there not such a thing 
as the enjoyment of royalty, and is it not unmixed with sorrow? " 
Milinda : " There is." Nagasena : " But a king is displeased with 
the people who live on the limit of his dominions ; he pursues them 
that he may punish them ; whilst thus engaged he suffers much from 
flies, musquitoes, cold, wind, sun, and rain ; he must fight, and his 
life will be exposed to danger. How then is it you say that the en- 
joyment of royalty is unmi.xed?" Milinda: "The dangers of the 
warfare are not an enjoyment; but its trials are endured in seeking 
the kingdom, or in defending it. Princes seek the kingdom in sor- 
row, and when it is attained receive the enjoyment of royally ; on 
this account it is that the enjoyment of royalty is an unmixed satis- 
faction. The toil of the warfare is one, the enjoyment of its result 
another." Nagasena : " In the same way, the happiness of nirwana 
is unmixed, though those who seek it are subject to sorrow ; the 
sorrow is one, the happiness another ; the two states are entirely 
distinct. Or, you may receive another comparison to the same 
eff'ect. A disciple sets himself to the attainment of knowledge, and 
for this purpose places himself under the care of a preceptor ; the 
knowledge he acquires is an unmixed good, but he has great pain 


and sorrow in acquiring it ; and it is tlie same with those who seek 
the happiness of nirwana." 

Again, the king of Sagal said to Nagasena, '• You speak of nir- 
wana ; but can you show it to me, or explain it to me by colour, 
whether it be blue, yellow, red, or any other colour ; or by sign, 
locality, length, manner, metaphor, cause, or order ; in any of these 
ways, or by any of these ways, or by any of these means, can you 
declare it to me?" Nagasena: "I cannot declare it by any of 
these attributes or qualities (repeating them in the same order.") 
Milinda : " This I cannot believe." Nagasena : " There is the 
great ocean ; were any one to ask you how many measures of water 
there are in it, or how many living creatures it contains, what would 
you say ? " Milinda : " I should tell him that it was not a proper 
question to ask, as it is one that no one can answer." Nao-asena : 
" In the same way, no one can tell the size, or shape, or colour, or 
other attributes of nirwana, though it has its own proper and essen- 
tial character. A rishi might answer the question to which I have 
referred, but he could not declare the attributes of nirwana ; neither 
could any dewa of the arupa worlds." Milinda : " It may be true m 
that nirwana is happiness, and that its outward attributes cannot be 
described; but cannot its excellence or advantages be set forth by 
some mode of comparison ? " Nagasena : " It is like the lotus, as it 
is free from klesha, as the lotus is separated from the mud out of^ 
which it springs. It is like water, as it quenches the fire of klesha, 
as water cools the body ; it also overcomes the thirst for that which 
is evil, as water overcomes the natural thirst. It is like a medicine, 
as it assists those who are suffering from the poison of klesha, as 
medicine assists those who are suffering from sickness ; it also de- 
stroys the sorrow of renewed existence, as medicine destroys disease; 
and it is immortal, as medicine wards off death. It is like the sea, 
as it is free from the impurity of klesha, as the sea is free from 
every kind of defilement ; it is vast, infinite, so that countless beings 
do not fill it, as the sea is unfathomable, and is not filled by all 
the waters of all the rivers ; it receives Seriyut, Ananda, Maha Kas- 
yapa, and other most exalted beings, as the sea contains the Timi, 
Timingala, Timira, Pingala, and other large fishes ;-• and it is filled 
with the perfume of emancipation from existence, as the surface of 
the sea is covered with flower-resembling waves. It is like food, as 
it promotes age, as food increases the length of life ; it increases the 
* Some of these fishes are said to be many thousands of miles in length. 



power of the rishis, as food increases the strength of men ; it in- 
creases the virtues of those who receive it, as the reception of food 
adds beauty to the body; it overcomes the weariness produced by 
klesha, as food destroys the weariness of the body ; and it drives 
away sorrow and pain, as food destroys hunger. It is like space, as 
it is not produced (by any exterior cause) ; it has no living exist- 
ence ; it does not die ; it does not pass away ; it is not reproduced ; 
it cannot be collapsed or furtively taken away ; it has no locality ; 
it is the abode of the rahats and Budhas, as space is the habitation of 
birds ; it cannot be hid ; and its extent is boundless. It is like the 
magical jewel, as it gives whatever is desired ; it also imparts joy, 
and by the light it gives is a benefit or assistance. It is like red 
sandal-wood, as it is difficult to be procured ; its perfume is also 
peerless, and it is admired by the wise. It is like ghee, as it in- 
creases the beauty of the colour, its perfume is universally diffused, 
and its taste is delightful. It is like Maha Meru, as it is higher 
than the three worlds ; it is also firm ; its summit is difficult to be 
attained ; and as seeds will not vegetate on the surface of the rock, 
neither can klesha flourish in nirwana ; and it is free from enmity 
or wratli." 

Again, the king of Sagal said to Nagasena, " You declare that 
nirwana is neither past, future, nor present ; and that it cannot 
be said that it is produced, nor that it is not jaroduced ; then does 
the being [who acquires it attain something that has 'previously 
existed, or is it his own product, a formation peculiar to him- 
self?" Nagasena: "Nirwana does not exist previously to its re- 
ception ; nor is it that which was not, brought into existence ; 
still, to the being who attains it there is nirwana." Milinda : 
" There is much doubt in the world relative to nirwana, so I trust 
you will answer my questions in a clear and decisive manner, that 
my mind may be no longer agitated respecting it." Nagasena : 
" As the disciple receives wisdom from the preceptor, so the being 
who is pure receives nirwana." Milinda: "What is nirwana? 
How is it ? " Nagasena : " It is free from danger, safe, without 
fear, happy, peaceful, the source of enjoyment, refreshing, pure, de- 
lightful. When a man who has been broiled before a huge fire is 
released therefrom, and goes quickly into some open space, he feels 
the most agreeable sensation ; and it is the same with the man who, 
released from ignorance, hatred, and other evils, attains nirwana. 
The fire is ignorance, hatred, &,c. ; the man exposed to the fire is 


he who seeks to attain nirwana ; and the open space is nirwana. 
Again, when a man who has been confined in a filthy place where 
there are the dead bodies of snakes and dogs, is released tlierefrom 
and goes without delay to some open space, he also feels the most 
agreeable sensation. The filth is pancha-kama ; the man confined 
in the filthy place is he who is seeking nirwana ; and the open space 
is nirwana. Again, when a man is exposed to danger from a band 
of enemies armed with swords, he is in great fear, and struggles vio- 
lently to release himself, and then goes to some place where he can 
be free from fear and at rest. The place that is free from fear is 
nirwana." Milinda : " How does the priest who seeks nirwana re- 
ceive it? How is it effected, or brought about?" Nagasena : 
" The man who seeks nirwana carefully investigates the properties 
of the sanskharas ; by this he sees that they are connected with 
decay, sorrow, and death ; thus he discovers that there is no satis- 
faction attached to successive existence ; that there is no such thing 
as permanent happiness. The man who sees a bar of iron that has 
been heated to the highest possible degree can discover no way 
whatever in which it will be desirable to hold it ; and it is the same 
with him who contemplates the evils of successive existence ; he 
can see no form whatever in which it is to be desired. Like a 
fish caught in a net ; like a frog when attracted to the mouth of a 
serpent ; like a bird in the claws of a cat ; like a naya in the beak 
of a garunda ; like the moon in the mouth of Rahu ; he struggles 
to obtain release from existence. As the man who has gone to a 
distant country, when he sees the road that leads to his native land, 
thinks it will be w^ell if he returns by that road ; so the wise priest 
strives to gain an entrance into the fourth path, that he may attain 

Again, the king of Sagal said to Nagasena, " Is nirwana in the 
east, south, west, or north ; above, or below ? Is there such a place 
as nirwana ? If so, where is it ? " Nagasena : " Neither in the 
east, south, west, or north ; neither in the sky above, nor in the 
earth below ; nor in any of the infinite sakwalas, is there such a 
place as nirwana." Milinda : " Then if nirwana have no locality, 
there can be no such thing ; and when it is said that any one attains 
nirwana the declaration is false. For the production of grain, there 
is the field ; for the production of perfume, there is the flower ; for 
the production of the flower, there is the forest ; for the production 
of fruit, there is the tree : for the production of gold, there is the 


mine. If any one wishes for flowers or fruits, he goes to the place 
Avhere they may be procured, and there meets with them ; therefore, 
if there were such a thing as nirwana, it would have a locality ; and 
if there be no such place, there can be no nirwana ; the dewas and 
men who are expecting it will be deceived." Nagasena : " There 
is no such place as nirw^ana, and yet it exists ; the priest who seeks 
it in a right manner will attain it. Fire may be produced by rub- 
bing together two sticks, though previously it had no locality ; and 
it is the same with nirwana. The seven treasures of tlie chakra- 
wartti have no locality, but when he wishes for them they come ; 
and it is the same with nirwana." Milinda: " Be it so : but when 
nirwana is attained, is there such a place? " Nagasena : " When a 
priest attains nirwana there is such a place." Milinda: "Where is 
that place?" Nagasena: "Wherever the precepts can be observed ; 
and there may be the observance in Yawana, China, Milata, Ala- 
sanda, Nikumba, Kasi, Kosala, Kasmira, Gandhara, the summit of 
Maha Meru, or the brahma-lokas ; it may be anywhere ; just as he 
who has two eyes can see the sky from any or all of these places ; 
or, as any of these places may have an eastern side." 

Again, the king of Sagal said to Nagasena ; " Does the all-wise 
(Budha) exist ? " Nagasena : " He who is the most meritorious 
(Bhagawat) does exist." Milinda : " Then can you point out to 
me the place in which he exists?" Nagasena: " Our Bhagawat 
has attained nirwana, where there is no repetition of birth ; we can- 
not say that he is here, or that he is there. When a fire is extin- 
guished, can it be said that it is here, or that it is there ? Even so, 
our Bhagawat has attained nirwana ; he is like the sun that has set 
behind the Hastagiri mountain ; it cannot be said that he is here, 
or that he is there ; but we can point him out by the discourses he 
delivered; in these he still lives." 

The two preceding chapters may appear to possess little interest, 
if they be glanced at only in a cursory manner ; but they are not 
without importance when we regard themt eleologically, as present- 
ing a view of the brightest aspirations to which many millions of 
men are professing to adhere as their final hope. 

It can scarcely be disputed, if the statements herein made are 
allowed to be a correct exposition of Budhism, that according to 
this system all sentient beings are called upon to regard the entire 


cessation of existence as the only means by which they can obtain 
a release from the evils of existence. This can only be accom- 
( / plished by cutting off the moral cause of its continuance, viz. the 
\ I cleaving to existing objects. This sensuous adherence may be got 
rid of by getting free from the efficient cause of its continuance, 
which is karma, or the united power of kusala, merit, akusala, 
demerit, and awyakratya, that which is neither one nor the other. 
In order that this may be attained there must be an entrance into 
one of the paths leading to nirwana. 

But when we thus make a distinction between the moral cause 
and the efficient, it must be borne in mind that it is merely to make 
the subject more readily understood by those who have been accus- 
tomed only to western modes of thought, as in the sequence of ex- 
istence propounded by Gotama they are not coeval but consecutive 
causes, in a chain composed of many links. The entire chain, one 
link naturally and necessarily producing the sequent link, is as fol- 
lows : ignorance ; merit and demerit ; the conscious faculty ; the 
sensitive powers, the perceptive powers, the reasoning powers, and 
body ; the six organs of sense ; contact, or the action of the organs; 
sensation ; the desire of enjoyment ; attachment ; existence ; birth ; 
decay, death, and sorrow in all its forms.'^' Thus, the process is 
rather like the undulations of a wave, one producing the other and 
flowdng into it, than the independent links of a chain. 

The method by which the paths are gained is extremely intricate, 
and contrasts most strongly with the simplicity of the terms upon 
wdiich salvation is offered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unless 
there has been a concurrence of favourable circumstances in pre- 
vious births, the ascetic of the present age may give up the pursuit 
in despair ; which is acknowledged to be the existing position of all 
Budhists, as no one now dares to hope for an immediate reception 
of nirwana. 

Of the full perplexities of the system, however, little idea can be 
formed from the preceding translations, as I have arranged the para- 
graphs in a manner entirely different from that in which they appear 
in the MSS. whence they are taken, in order that the reader may be 
enabled to arrive, by successive stages, at the principal gradations 
that are regarded as being connected with the privileges of the Bud- 
hist. But in consulting the works by which 1 have been enabled to 

* Gogerly's Essay on liuclhism ; Joiunal Ceylon Branch Royal As. See , 
i. 15. 


arrive at these conclusions, I have had to wade through a mass of 
philologic and dialectic lore, so formidable in its extent, so minute 
in its classifications, and so subtle in its distinctions, that I should 
scarcely have had courage to undertake the task, could I have fore- 
seen at the commencement the labour it would involve. In one or 
two instances, as at page 261, an example is presented from which 
the rest may in some degree be understood. 

We learn from the statements herein made, that the sramana who 
sets himself to overcome the evils of existence retires from all inter- 
course with the world, and either exercises meditation, simply, or 
joins with it the practice of kasina, by which he is enabled to attain 
to nimitta, which is represented as being a mental illumination that 
brings with it, in various degrees of perfection, the state of mind 
called samadhi. This result of profound meditation includes un- 
disturbed tranquillity, an equanimity the most entire ; and in its 
superior degree it produces unconsciousness. " Budha has distin- 
guished me," said Maha Kasyapa, " by comjiaring me, in thought, 
to the imperturtability of the air, though a hand be waved through 
it." When one of the monarchs of Ceylon was improving a certain 
tank, a priest was observed to be in the act of samadhi meditation, 
and as no one was able to rouse him from that state of abstraction, 
he was covered with earth, and buried in the embankment.*' At 
another time some thieves mistook a priest in this state for a pillar, and 
heaped around him the booty they had obtained ; but when he came 
to himself, and began to move, they fled away in extreme terror. 

The exercise of the dhyanas leads to similar results ; but when 
the fourth dhyana is accomplished, the rahatship is attained, and the 
ascetic arrives at the most propitious state in which it is possible for 
any sentient being to be placed. The rahat is entirely free from the 
effects of karma. As the awidya, ignorance, whence merit and 
demerit are produced, has entirely passed away from his mind, the 
succeeding stages in the sequence of existence are set aside ; the 
eff'ect ceases, as the cause no longer exists. When the present birth 
of the rahat ends, at his death the last undulation of the wave has 
rolled upon the shore ; the echo has ceased ; the light has become 
for ever extinguished. 

The Budhist supposes that the acquisition of merit includes an 
accumulation of physical power. Although all events are homoge- 
neous, being produced from one and the same series of causes, and 

* Turnom-'s Mahawanso. 

XX I r. NIRWANA. 303 

the word supernatural cannot be used of an)' event with strict pro- 
priety, there is a difference in the manner of their manifestation. I 
have not met witli any graduated scale of either moral purity or 
concurrent energy that can be regarded as complete or perfect. In 
the lower .stages of the sramana's attainments, his privileges and 
powers seem to run into each other ; sometimes the ethical seems 
to be in excess, and at other times the physical ; and it does not 
appear that the possession of any given degree of purity necessarily 
includes a proportionate degree of energy, unless, in addition to the 
acquisition of the purity, there has also been an attention to the 
appointed exercise by means of which the energy is attained. But 
as the exercise of the fourth dhyana, when properly conducted 
always leads to the possession of rahatship, it uniformly produces 
the most exalted effects. Yet even all rahats have not the same 
power. This will be seen by a reference to the knowledge they are 
supposed to possess relative to the circumstances of their previous 
states of existence. The following extract, in illustration of this 
topic, is taken from Budhagosha's Commentary on the Pitakas : — 
" The tirttaka unbelievers have the power of revelation over forty 
kalpas, and not beyond, on account of their limited intelligence. 
The ordinary disciples of Budha have the power of revelation over 
a hundred and a thousand kalpas, being endowed with greater in- 
telligence. The eighty principal disciples have the power of reve- 
lation over a hundred thousand kalpas, The two chief disciples 
over one asankya and a hundred thousand kalpas. The inferior 
Budhas over two asankyas and a hundred thousand kalpas. Their 
destiny is fulfilled at the termination of these respective periods 
(being the term that has elapsed from the epoch of their respectively 
forming their vow to realise rahatship to their accomplishment of the 
same.) To the intelligence of the supreme Budha alone there is 
no limitation." •'•' In a dialogue cited from the Vedas, one of tiie in- 
terlocutors, Jaigishavya, asserts his presence, and consequent recol- 
lection of occurrences, through ten renovations of the universe. f 

The miracles ascribed to the earlier priests are so numerous, that 
the narrative parts of the sacred books may be said to contain an 
unbroken series, and many of them are of the most wonderful de- 
scription. The recital of a single instance may suffice to expose the 
absurdity of their character. " The emperor Asoka said to the 

* Txunour's Pali Budliistical Aiuials ; Jomii. Bengal As. Soc. Aug. 1838. 
t Colebrookc's Miscellaneous Essays, i. 241. 


priest Moggaliputta-tissa, ' Lord, I am desirous of seeing a miracle 
performed.' ' Maharaja, What description of miracle art thou desi- 
rous of witnessing?' 'An earthquake.' 'Is it the whole earth 
that thou desirest to see shake, or only a portion thereof? ' 'Of 
these, which is the most miraculous ? ' ' Why, in a metal dish filled 
with water, which would be the most miraculous, to make the whole 
water quake, or half?' 'The half.' 'In the same manner, it is 
most difficult to make only a portion of the earth quake.' ' Such 
being the case, I will witness the quaking of a portion only of the 
earth.' ' For that purpose, within a line of demarkation, in cir- 
cumference one yojana, on the eastern side, let a chariot be placed, 
with one of its wheels resting within the line. On the southern side, 
let a horse stand, with two of his legs resting within the line. On 
the western side, let a man stand with one foot resting within the line. 
And on the northern side, let a vessel filled with water be placed, 
the half of it projecting beyond the line of demarkation.' The raja 
caused arrangements to be made accordingly. The thero priest 
having been absorbed in the fourth dhyana, rising therefrom, vouch- 
safed thus to resolve : ' Let a quaking of the earth, extending over 
a yojana in space, be visible to the raja.' On the eastern side, the 
wheel of the chariot that rested within the line only shook. In the 
same manner, in the southern and western sides, the feet of the 
horse, and the foot of the man, together with that moiety of their 
body resting within the line, shook. On the northern side, the half 
of the vessel also, together with the portion of water appertaining 
to that moiety which rested within the circle, shook ; the rest re- 
mained undisturbed." * 

Among the Brahmans also there are different classes in the same 
order of ascetics, and some of the rites that they perform are similar 
to those of the Budhists. " The sages, or yogi," it is said in the 
Vishnu Purana, as translated by Professor Wilson, p. 652, " when 
first applying himself to contemplative devotion, is called the novice 
or practitioner ; when he has attained spiritual union, he is called 
the adept, or he whose meditations are accomplished. Should the 
acts of the former be unvitiated by any obstructing imperfection, he 
will obtain freedom, after practising devotion through several lives. 
The latter speedily obtains liberation in that existence (in which he 
receives perfection), all his acts being consumed by the fire of con- 
templative devotion Endowed with the prescribed merits, 

* Tm-nour's Pali Bviclliistical Annals ; Journ. Bengal As. Soc. Sept. 1837. 

XX ir. NIRWANA. 305 

the sage, self-restrained, should sit in one of the modes termed bha- 
drasana, &.C., and engage in contemplation. Bringing his vital airs, 
called prana, under subjection, by frequent repetition, is thence 
called pranayama, which is as it were a seed with a seed. In this 
the breath of expiration and that of inspiration are alternately ob- 
structed, constituting the act twofold ; and the suppression of both 
modes of breathing produces a third. The exercise of the yogi, 
whilst endeavouring to bring before his thoughts the gross form of 
the eternal, is denominated alambana. He is then to perform 
the pratyahara, which consists in restraining his organs of sense 
from susceptibility to outward impressions, and directing them en- 
tirely to mental perceptions. By these means the entire subjugation 
of the unsteady senses is effected ; and if they are not controlled, 
the sage will not accomplish his devotions. When by the prana- 
yama the vital airs are restrained, and the senses are subjugated by 
the pratyahara, then the sage will be able to able to keep his mind 
steady in its perfect asylum." It is said, in a note to the Purana, 
"that pranayama is performed by three modifications of breathing : 
the first act is expiration, which is performed through the right nos- 
tril, whilst the left is closed with the right hand ; this is called re- 
chaka : the thumb is then placed upon the right nostril, and the 
fingers raised from the left, through which breath is inhaled ; this 
is called puraka : in the third act both nostrils are closed, and 
breathing suspended ; this is khumbaka : and a succession of these 
operations is the practice of pranayama." The same ceremony is 
thus described by Ward, in his Account of the Hindoos : — " The 
yogi must in the first instance by medicines reduce the appetites of 
the body and increase its strength ; he must then learn the proper 
posture for the ceremony : this posture may be various, but a parti- 
cular one is here enjoined — the yogi is to put his legs across in a 
sitting posture, and to hold his feet with his hands crossed behind 
him. The next act of austerity is that of learning to inhale and dis- 
charge his breath ; in doing which he is to take a piece of cloth 
fifteen cubits long, and four fingers in breadth, and swallow it re- 
peatedly, drawing it up and taking it down his throat, drinking 
water at intervals. He must next choose a seat on some sacred 
spot, at the bottom of a vutu tree, at some place frequented by pil- 
grims, near an image of an uncreated linga, or in any place pecu- 
liarly pleasant to a yogi, but it must be a secret one. That on 
which he must sit may be either kusha grass, or the skin of a tiger 



or a deer, or a blanket ; but be must not sit on wood, nor on the 
earth, nor on cloth ; his back, neck, and head, must be exactly 
erect : and he must remain motionless, his eyes fixed on his nose. 
The devotee must first with his thumb and fingers prevent the air 
from issuing from his eyes, ears, nostrils, and mouth, and with his 
feet bind up the tw^o other avenues of respiration. This he is to 
practise by degrees till he is able to exist without inspiration and 
respiration. He who is thus far perfected will be able to subdue 
his passions, and to disrelish all the pleasures of the senses." 

But although the same terms and rites are used by both Budhists 
and Brahmans, there is a difference in the meaning of the terms, and 
in the intention for which the rites are performed. " The medita- 
ting sage," according to the Vishnu Purana, " must think he be- 
holds internally the figure of Vishnu. . . . When this image never 
departs from his mind, whether he be going or standing, or be en- 
gaged in any other voluntarj' act, then he may believe his intention 

to be perfect This process of forming a lively image in the 

mind, exclusive of all other objects, constitutes dhyana, or medita- 
tion, which is perfected by six stages ; and when an accurate know- 
ledge of self free from all distinction, is attained, by this mental 
meditation, that is termed samadhi." The six stages that belong 
to dhyana are : 1. Yama, acts of restraint and obligation. 2. Asana, 
sitting in particular postures. 3. Pranayama, modes of breathing. 
4. Pratyahara exclusion of all external ideas. 5. Bhawana, appre- 
hension of internal ideas. 6. Dharana, fixation or retention of those 
ideas. The result of the dhyana or samadhi is the absence of all 
idea of individuality, when the meditator, the meditation, and the 
thing or object meditated upon, are all considered to be but one. 
According to the text of Patanjali : Restraint of the body, retention 
of the mind, and meditation, which thence is exclusively devoted 
to one object, is dhyana : the idea of identification with the object 
of such meditation, so as if devoid of individual nature, is sa- 

, The Brahmans believe that Brahm is the only entity in the uni- 
jverse ; and that there cannot, by any possibility, be any other being 
existent, of any kind or degree whatever, created or uncreated, visible 
or invisible, known or unknown. The world, with all that it con- 
tains, is only a manifestation of the supreme spirit ; it is part and 
parcel of his own individuality. The soul of man partakes of the 
* Notes to the Vishnu Purina, by Professor Wilson. 


same essence ; it is not a separate monad, but a portion of the deity. 
Nevertheless, as it is under the influence of awidya, ignorance, from 
being connected with prakriti, matter, it knows not its real nature, 
and supposes that it is a distinct and separate existence. The erro- 
neous notion that self consists in what is not self, and the opinion 
that property consists in what is not one's own, are said to consti- 
tute the double seed of the tree of ignorance. "Travelling the paths 
of the world for many thousands of births," Kesidwaja is made to 
say, " man attains only the weariness of bewilderment, and is smo- 
thered by the dust of imagination. When that dust is washed away 
by the bland water of real knowledge, then the weariness of bewil- 
derment sustained by the wayfarer through repeated births is re- 
moved. When that weariness is relieved the internal man is at 
peace, and he obtains that supreme felicity which is unequalled and 
undisturbed. This soul is (of its own nature) pure, and composed 
of happiness and wisdom. The properties of pain, ignorance, and 
impurity, are those of nature (prakriti), not of soul. There is no 
affinity between fire and water, but when the latter is placed over 
the former in a caldron it bubbles and boils, and exhibits the pro- 
perties of fire. In like manner w^hen soul is associated with prakriti 
it is vitiated by egotism and the rest, and assumes the qualities of 
grosser nature, although essentially distinct from them, and incor- 
ruptible. Such is the seed of ignorance Where could man, 

scorched by the fires of the sun of this world, look for felicity, were 
it not for the shade aff"orded by the tree of emancipation ? Attain- 
ment of the divine being is considered by the wise as the remedy of 
the threefold class of ills that beset the different stages of life, con- 
ception, birth, and decay, as characterised by that only happiness 
which efiaces all other kinds of felicity, however abundant, and as 
being absolute and final. It should therefore be the assiduous en- 
deavour of wise men to attain unto god. The means of such attain- 
ment are said to be knowledge and works." * 

The Budhists deny the existence of any such entity as Brahm. 

They are not pantheists but atheists. With the Brahmans they 

j deny also the existence of a separate ego, a self; but " the Brahman 

(idea is this, that , . I . . is Brahm; the Budhist, that . . I . . is 

' a nonentity." In the circle of sequence, inserted above, it will be 
seen that no individuality is introduced ; nothing that can be re- 
garded as the man : there is the body, and there are various powers, 

* Wilson's Vishnu Purkna. 

X 2 


such as the conscious, the sensitive, the perceptive, the reasoning, 
and the sensuous ; but there is no mention made of any conscious, 

I sensitive, perceptive, reasoning, or sensuous entity. There are attri- 
butes, and there are facultives, active and passive ; but there is no 
concrete source from wliich these powers are derived, or to whicli 
they belong. The Budhist, therefore, does not seek for absorption, 
but for annihilation. This subject belongs rather to the psychology 
of Budhism, or it would not be difficult to prove that in all these 
errors the system is consistent with itself; materialism, atheism, and 
the entire cessation of existence, stand or fall together ; if the two 
former could be proved, the third would follow as a matter of 

An explanation of what is intended by bhawo, which in the circle 
of sequence is translated existence, or state of existence, will render 
it the more probable that nirwana is literally annihilation. Absorp- 
tion it cannot be, as there is no locality in which it can take place, 

\ no existence into which the sentient being can be merged. " Bhawo, ' 
it is said, " is two-fold ; consisting of moral causative acts, and the 
state of being. Of these, what is kamma-bhaw^o, or what are moral 
causative acts ? They are merit, demerit, and the thoughts of those 
in the corporeal (arupa) worlds ; and all those actions which lead 
to existence. Of these, what are the states in which beings are pro- 
duced (or come into existence, whether by birth or otherwise) ? 1 . 
The state of sensual pleasures or pains, kama-bhawo (including the 
places of torment, the earth. Sec. and six heavens.) 2. The brahma- 
worlds, rupa-bhawo (where there are no sensible pleasures, and no 
pains, the enjoyments being intellectual, although there is bodily 
form) They are sixteen in number, and the duration of ex- 
istence in them increases from one third of a kalpa to 16,000 kalpas. 
3. The incorporeal worlds, arupa-bhawo, where there is no bodily 
form. They are four in number, and the period of existence is from 
20,000 to 40,000 kalpas. 4. A conscious state of being, including 
all except the asanyasatta. 5. An unconscious state of being, asan- 
yasatta. 6. A state neither fully conscious nor yet altogether un- 
conscious, newasanyanasanya-bhawo (the last of the incorporeal 
worlds, and the nearest approximation to nirwana.) (These states 
of existence may be) with one, with four, or with tive of the com- 
ponent parts of a sentient being. The greatest number which any 
being can possess is five, viz. body, sensation, perception, the rea- 
soning powers, and the conscious faculty. These five are possessed 


by the inhabitants of the earth, the drwa-lokas, and fifteen of the 
brahma-lokas ; four of them (omitting body), by the inhabitants of 
the four incorporeal worlds ; and only one by the asanyasatta, viz. 
body."*' From this extract we learn that nirwana cannot be a state 
of sensuous enjoyment ; nor of intellectual enjoyment ; nor of incor- 
porcality ; nor of consciousness ; nor of unconsciousness ; nor a 
state that is neither conscious nor unconscious. It must, therefore, 
be a non-entity ; and the being who enters this state must become 


In nearly all the villages and towns of Ceylon that are inhabited 
by the Singhalese or Kandians, the priests of Budha are frequently 
seen, as they have to receive their food by taking the alms-bowl 
from house to house. They usually walk along the road at a mea- 
sured pace, without taking much notice of that which passes around. 
They have no covering for the head, and are generally bare-footed. 
In the right hand they carry a fan, in shape not much unlike the 
hand-screens that are seen on the mantel of an English fire-place, 
which they hold up before the face when in the presence of women, 
that the entrance of evil thoughts into the mind may be prevented. 
The bowl is slung from the neck, and is covered by the robe, ex- 
cept at the time when alms are received. When not carrying the 
bowl, they are usually followed by an attendant, with a book or 
small bundle. 

The exact number of priests that there are now in Ceylon cannot 
be ascertained ; but I should think that it will not average more than 
one in four hundred of the whole population. This Avould give, for 
the island, about 2500 priests. This proportion is much less than 
in Burma, where again the priests are fewer than in Siam, though 
the temples are more numerous. According to Howard Malcom 
there is one priest to thirty inhabitants among the Burmans ; and 
the same author informs us that, in the province of Tavoy, the 
number of priests is estimated at 400, with about 50 nuns. Be- 

* Gogerly's Essay on Budhism ; Journ. Ceylon Branch Royal As. See. i. 
16. This enumeration will enable the reader to understand some of the terms 
not hitlicito exphuned, that afjpear on the 26lst page. 


sides the great temple in Rangoon, there are more than 500 smaller 
ones, occupying as much space as the city itself, if not more. There 
are more than a hundred temples in Canton, of which the most 
considerable portion belongs to the Budhists. The whole number 
of the priests in the same city is estimated at 2000. The largest 
monasteries belonging to the Singhalese are in Kandy ; but even in 
them there are not more than from twelve to twenty priests. In 
many of the village pansals only one priest is resident. But it is 
stated by Fa Hian that, at the time of his visit to Ceylon, there 
were 5000 ecclesiastics in one of the monasteries at Anuradhapura, 
and that upon a mountain not far distant (probably Mihintala) 2000 
priests were resident. From the reports of the people he gathered 
that there were 50,000 or 60,000 priests in the whole of Ceylon. In 
some of the monasteries upon the continent of India he met with 
3000 priests. In the inscription at Mihintala more than one hun- 
dred persons are separately mentioned as connected with the temple, 
including a secretary, a treasurer, a physician, a surgeon, a painter, 
twelve cooks, twelve thatchers, ten carpenters, six carters, two 
florists (who had to supply 200 lotus flowers monthly), and twenty- 
four inferior menials. 

With this account it may be interesting to comj)are the number 
of persons attached to the monasteries of the west. According to 
William of Malmesbury the monastery of Bangor contained 2100 
monks, who maintained themselves by the produce of their own 
labour. In the times of the Anglo-Saxons the monks in one mo- 
nastery were also more numerous than in more recent periods ; at 
Winchelcomb there were 300, and 600 in the united monastery of 
Weremouth and Yarrow.'^' The usual number was from five to 
twenty resident brethren ; but to this there were many exceptions. 
At Tewkesbury there were 38 brethren and 144 servants. The 
abbey of St. Albans was limited to 100 brethren. In 1381 the 
establishment at Sallay Abbey consisted of the lord abbot and prior, 
nearly thirty monks, including novices, and forty-five or forty-six 
servants.! In the abbey at Whalley were a lord abbot, a prior, 
about twenty monks, besides an uncertain number of novices, twenty 
servants belonging to the abbot, and seventy in the general service 
of the house."]: In the abbey of St. Edmund's Bury there were thirty- 
two officers under the abbot and 142 servants, in various departments, 

* Taylor's Index Monasticus. f Whitaker's History of Craven. 

i AVhitakcr's History of Whalley. 


besides the officiating chaplains, the monks, and their servants. 
Before the dissolution of the cathedral priory of Norwich, the esta- 
blishment consisted of the following persons : — The lord prior, 
sub-prior,* sixty monks, sacrist, sub-sacrist, cellarer or bursar, 
sub-cellarer or butler, camerarius or chamberlain, almoner, refec- 
torer, pittancier, chaplains, precentor, sub-chantor, infirmarer, cho- 
risters, and keeper of the shrines ; with the following lay officers : 
prior's butler, clerk of the infirmary, miller, cooper, maltster, car- 
penter, porter of the cellar, porter of the fish-house, caterer, wood- 
herds, gardener's men, more than sixty servants for the monks, 
janitor, keeper of the sanctuarium, keepers of the garners, tokener, 
grooms, stallarius, provendarius, swanherd, gaoler, grangers, ser- 
vants of the larder and of the kitchen, carters, scullions, &c., Scc.f 
In Sumner's Antiquities of Canterbury there is a list of forty per- 
sons who were attached to the cellarer of the monastery of St. 
Augustine. In 1174 there were sixty-seven monks in the abbey of 
Evesham, with three nuns, three paupers at command, and three 
clerks, who had equal privileges with the monks. They had fifty- 
nine servants : five attended in the church, two in the infimary, 
two in the chancery, five in the kitchen, seven in the bakehouse, 
four in the brewery, four in the bath, two as shoemakers, two in the 
pantry, three as gardeners, one at the gate of the cloister, two at 
the great gate, five in the vineyard, four waited on the monks who 
went abroad, four as fishermen, four in the abbot's chamber, three 
in the hall, and two as watchmen. | 

The countenances of the priests in Ceylon are frequently less in- 

* III some instances there was a fomtli and fifth prit)r, and the general 
arrangement of the household differed from that of the priory of Norwich. 
The niagistcr operis was the master mason ; the eleemosinarius had the over- 
sight of the abns ; the pitantiariiis had the care of the pictancies or pittances, 
which were extra allowances upon the usual proAdsions ; the sacrista, or 
sexton, had the care of the vessels, books, and vestments belonging to the 
cliurch, accounted for the oblations at the altars and images, and provided 
bread and wine for the sacrament ; the camerarius, or chamberlain, had the 
fare of the dormitory ; the cellerarius, or cellarer, procui-ed the provisions, 
and had the care of the kitchen ; the thesaiu'arius, or bursar, received all 
rents and revenues, and paid all common cxpenccs ; the precentor had the 
care of the choir, provided the music-books, parchment, ink, and colours, had 
the custody of the seal, and kept the chapter-book ; the scriptores, or writers, 
transcril)cd the missals and books for the use of the library, for wliich they 
had fretpiently grants from pious indi\-iduals ; the hostilarius, or hospitilarius, 
attended to the strangers ; the refcctiorarius provided vessels and servants 
for the refectory ; and the infirmarius had the care of the infirmary, provided 
medicines, and prepared the dead for biu-ial. — Burton's Monasticon. 

t Taylor's Index. 

I Tindal's History of Evesham, from Stevens's Appendix. 


telligent than tliose of the common people ; indeed there is often 
an appearance about them of great vacancy, amounting almost to 
imbecility, and they seldom appear cheerful or happy. But there 
are exceptions to this rule, and a few whom I have seen exhibit an 
exact personification of the quiet and gentleness by which their 
system is characterised. The same appearance of mental inertness 
has been noticed by nearly all those Avho have travelled in countries 
where Budhism is professed. Howard Malcom says, that a more 
stupid set could not be picked out in all Canton, than the priests 
who officiate at the Budhist temple in the suburb of Honan. He 
had previously remarked this characteristic of the Budhist priest- 
hood in other countries, and was confirmed in the belief of its being 
attributable to the character of their religion and the nature of their 
duties. Sir J. F. Davis says, that to judge of its effects on the 
priests, the practice of Budhism appears to have a most debasing 
influence, as they have nearly all of them an expression apj)roaching 
to idiotcy. With this agrees the testimony of Bishop Smith, who 
says that the greater part of these wretched men saunter about with 
an idiotic smile and vacant look, and appear little removed in in- 
tellect above the animal creation, only a few seeming to be raised 
by mental culture above the generality, and exhibiting a refinement 
of mind and manners. 

When not treated with disrespect, the priests of Ceylon rather 
court intercourse with Europeans than otherwise. I was frequently 
visited by them ; especially by one old man, who had travelled through 
Bengal, Burma, Siam, and many other countries, and who prided 
himself upon being able to make calomel much better than the 
European doctors, as his preparation did not cause tlie falling out 
of the teeth, soreness of the mouth, or salivation. He learnt the 
secret from an ancient sage that he met with in a forest on the con- 
tinent of India, and he was the only person alive who possessed this 
knowledge. Often when listening to him was I reminded of the mys- 
teries and crudities of the alchemists, who during so many ages vainly 
sought for the elixir vitae and the philosopher's stone. In travelling 
through unfrequented parts of the interior, as was once my wont 
and my delight, I usually took up my abode at the pansal, and sel- 
dom was I refused a night's lodging or a temporary shelter during 
the heat of the day. The priests would bring out the alms-bowl, 
Avhen they saw that I was hungry, and stirring about the contents 
with the bare hand, exhibit them before me, to tempt me to partake 


of them ; or they would bring tobacco or some other luxury, to ex- 
press their satisfaction at my visit. All that I had Avith me was a 
wonder to them, from the mechanism of my watch to the material 
of my hat. The paper of the tracts or Scriptures I gave them was 
supposed to be the leaf of some English tree. When I have taken 
off my ordinary clothes and put on my dressing-gown, they have 
told me that I now looked respectable ; but that they could not at 
all admire me in my other dress. It was to my knowledge of their 
languase I was in a great measure indebted for the welcome I re- 
ceived, as I was in most cases the only European with whom they 
had had the opportunity of entering into familiar conversation ; and 
some were too indolent and indifferent, and others too confident in 
the truth of their own system, to feel enmity to me as the teacher of 
another faith. At the commencement of the Wesleyan mission, 
the priests of one village requested the use of the school-house in 
which to read bana, and could scarcely be brought to understand 
the motives upon which it was refused. 

There is generally a school attached to the pansal, and the priests 
are much assisted by the boys whom they teach, in svich offices as 
the bringing of water and the sweeping of the court attached to the 
wihara. But in forming an image of the eastern school, we are not 
to picture to ourselves the order and regidarity of our own places of 
instruction. The children do not all attend at the same period of 
the day ; as they have leisure, they go to the pansal, repeat their 
lesson, and then return home, or go to their employment in some 
other place. The school is a mere shed, open at the sides, with 
a raised platform in one corner, covered with sand, on which the 
letters are traced by the finger of the child when learning to write. 
The lessons are usually repeated aloud, and are recited in a singing 
tone, several boys frequently joining in chorus. On common occa- 
sions there is heard a low monotonous murmuring, interrupted at 
intervals by a general shout ; as I have noticed the waves of the 
sea on a calm day, lazily rolling to the shore, with an occasional 
billow that by its deep booming breaks almost startlingly upon the 
previous silence. When strangers approach, the children scream 
out their tasks at the full pitch of their voices, and the din is for a 
time most impleasant. 

The letters of the Singhalese alphabet are classed and enunciated 
after the model presented by the Dewa-nagara, the vowels appear- 
ing first, and then, in order, the guttural, palatal, lingual, dental, 


and labial consonants. They are fifty in number, though not all in 
common use, and present a perfection not seen in the modern alpha- 
bets of Europe, as each letter has one uniform and definite sound. 
The long and short vowels are also distinguished ; and at the first 
sight of a word, if the alphabet has been properly acquired, its 
exact pronunciation may be known. From the number of the 
letters, the learning of the Singhalese alphabet is rather a for- 
midable undertaking, and the child is many weeks and sometimes, 
years, before he accomplishes this task ; his improvement of course 
depending in part upon his own diligence, or the attention of the 
priest. An additional difficulty is created by the circumstance, that 
when the vowels are not initial, they are represented by a symbol 
attached to the consonant, which sometimes varies its form to adapt 
itself the more readily to the shajie of the consonant with which it 
is connected. The first vowel has no symbol, but is to be considered 
as inherent in every consonant that has no symbol attached to it, 
similar to the short e supplied in Hebrew. It may have been 
during their residence in Babylon, when they would have the op- 
portunity of communicating with the sages of the further east, that 
the Israelites adopted the use of the points, as it would be at this 
period the want of them was first more powerfully felt. 

The hodiya, or alphabet, is usually copied upon tal leaves, ten in 
number, with the letters upon both sides, and two lines upon one 
page. The pupil is thus equally independent of the bookbinder, 
stationer, and publisher, as he has only to ascend a tree in order to 
procure his book, upon which he might write with a thorn from the 
bramble. There are a few compound letters, that are not included 
in the alphabet given to children. When the hodiya is properly 
mastered, the pupil proceeds to what is called pillan, the union of 
the vowels and consonants. Retaining the same tal leaves in his 
hand, he reads the word Swastisidham, May there be prosperity 
or success, which is always written at the commencement of the 
alphabet ; repeating the characters letter by letter, and showing in 
what way they are united together, with their phonic power. He 
then proceeds to the first letter, a, saying, this is a ; written with an 
elapilla (the symbol for a) it is a (long) ; and thus he proceeds 
through the whole, naming the symbol and telling the power of the 
letter when the symbol is prefixed, incorporated, or postfixed, as 
the case may be. 

In the pansal schools, no work is used that is of a similar cha- 


racter to our Rcading-made-Easy. After mastering the alphabet, 
the child writes the letters in sand, repeating the pillan as his finger 
traces the letters. In the left hand he holds a piece of wood, with 
which he erases the letter when its name and power have been pro- 
nounced, and an even surface is presented for the formation of the 
next letter. The entire course of reading includes the following 
works ; and as the list was received from the most learned priest in 
Kandy at the time, it may be considered as correct: — 1. Nampota. 
2. Magul-lakuna. 3. Wadan-kawi-pota. 4. Gana-dewa-ssella. 5. 
Budha-gaja. 6. Nawaratna. 7. Waesakara-sataka. 8. Namastaya. 
9. Anurudha-sataka. 10. Budha-sataka. 11. Surya-sataka. 12. 
Werttamala-sataka. 13. Werttamala-kyawa. 14. Amarasingha. 

1. Nampota, or name-book. This is the first book read at the 
pansals, and contains a collection of the names of villages, countries, 
temples, dagobas, dewalas, islands, caves, Sec. some of which are in 
Ceylon and others fabulous, the names being strung together with- 
out any order of arrangement. 

2. Magul-lakuna. An enumeration of the various signs and 
beauties upon the person of Budha. 

3. Wadan-kawi-pota. A book in Singhalese or Elu verse, con- 
taining stanzas in honour of Budha, the Truth, and the Priesthood : 
of the three conjoined ; of dewas, the host of heaven, emperors, 
kings, &c. There are also a few instructions on the powers of 
letters, grammatical rules, &c. 

4. Gana-dewa-ssella. Stanzas containing an account of the birth 
of Ganesa, the Hindu dewa of wisdom, with prayers addressed to 
the same. It is written in Elu, and is merely read to accustom the 
tongue to the utterance of letters and combinations that are difficult 
to pronounce. 

5. Budha-gaja. Stanzas in praise of Budha, written in a mixed style 
of Elu, Pali, and Sanskrit. It is understood only by the most learned 
of the priests, but is one of the most popvilar books that the Sin- 
ghalese possess, as he who can read or repeat it is considered as a 
learned man. 

6. Nawaratna. A description and eulogy of the nine most pre- 
cious things in the world, the principal of which is Budha. 

7. W^sakara- sataka. One hundred (as the word sataka denotes) 
stanzas, written by a rishi called Wasana, in Sanskrit, with a sanne 
or explanation. It contains a collection of maxims, or proverbs, of 
which the following mav be taken as a specimen ; but there arc 


some that are of an evil tendencj', and one at least that is too inde- 
licate to be repeated. 

" Though a man be of low caste, if he have wealth, he is honoiired 
by the people of the world, but if he have no wealth, though of the 
race of the moon, he is despised. 

" The pearls and gems which a man has collected, even from his 
youth, will not accompany him a single step towards the future 
world ; friends and relatives cannot proceed a step further than the 
place of sepulture ; but a man's actions, whether they be good or 
bad, will not leave him, they will follow him to futurity. 

" The affliction that cometh in its appointed season none can 
prevent, even as no one can hinder the withering of the lotus flower 
at eventide. 

" As drops of water falling into a vessel gradually fill it, so are 
all science, and instruction, and riches to be acquired. 

" A benefit given to the good is like characters engraven on a 
stone ; a benefit given to the evil is like a line drawn on water. 

" Neither live with a bad man, nor be at enmity with him ; even 
as, if you take hold of glowing charcoal it will burn you ; if of cold 
charcoal it will soil you. 

" A good action done in this world will receive its reward in the 
next ; even as the water poured at the root of a tree will be seen 
aloft in the fruit or the branches. 

" The evil man is to be avoided, though he be arrayed in the robe 
of all the sciences, as we flee from the serpent though it be adorned 
with the kantha jewel." This jewel is thought by the natives to be 
formed in the throat of the naya. It emits a light more brilliant 
than the purest diamond; and when the serpent wishes to discover 
anything in the dark, it disgorges the substance, swallowing it again 
when its work is done. It is thought to be possible to obtain the 
jewel by throwing dust upon it when out of the serpent's mouth; 
but if the reptile were to be killed to obtain it, misfortune would 
certainly fellow. 

" We must be deaf in hearing the evil of others, blind in seeing 
the imperfection of others, as those without members in committing 
sin, and as those without a mind in thinking to do wrong. 

" Destruction cometh upon those who are at variance with the 
great, as the tusks of the elephant are broken when he tries to split 
the rock. 

"• To him who sits after eating there will be corpulence ; to him 


who stands, strengtli of body ; to him who walks, length of years ; 
to him who runs, death will run. 

" Be not friends with a man who has no hair on his breast, nor 
with one who has no whiskers. 

" He who eats with his face towards the east will be long-lived ; 
he who eats with his face towards the south will be rich ; he who 
eats with his face towards the west will be famous ; do not eat with 
the face towards the north. 

" Though the good have only a little wealth, like the water of a 
well, it is useful to all ; though the bad have much wealth, like the 
salt water of the sea, it is useful to none."" 

Some of these maxims are sufficiently foolish ; but they are not 
without interest, as showing the kind of lore taught in the pansal 
schools and the modes of imparting instruction that are most 
popular in the east. 

8. Namastaya. Stanzas in honour of Budha, written in Sanskrit, 
with an explanatory sanne. 

9. Anurudha-sataka. Stanzas in Sanskrit, containing the names 
of the last twenty-four Budhas who have appeared, with the parti- 
cular tree sacred to each, and concluding with praises addressed to 
the same. 

10. Budha-sataka. Stanzas in praise of Budha written in Pali 
by Chandrabhawati, a brahman, who studied Budhism at Cotta, near 
Colombo, under Rahula, a very learned priest, and afterwards com- 
posed these verses. 

11. Surya-sataka. Stanzas in Sanskrit, in honour of the regent 
of the sun. 

12. Werttamala-sataka. Stanzas written by Chandrabhawati, in 
Sanskrit, on the management of the voice in recitation, the peculiar 
tone in which the natives read. 

13. Werttamala-kyawa. Stanzas in Pali, in honour of Budlia. 

14. Amarasingha. The well-known Sanskrit dictionary, written 
a few years before the Christian era. " As it was the custom with 
all ancient oriental writers to write on every subject in metre, the 
Amarasingha is in poetry, and contains about 1500 slokas, or stanzas. 
When in Sanskrit only, it forms a volume of about 120 puskola 
pages. But there is a Singhalese commentary, and when this is 
added it increases the size of the work to two volumes, with 330 
pages in each, of the largest kind of puskola. The language of the 


commentary is so very high as to be intelligible to a very few of the 
readers of the work." * 

The reading of these works completes the curriculum of a Sin- 
ghalese student, unless he be intended for the priesthood or the 
medical profession ; and it must be evident that there are few boys 
who can command the time requisite for passing through the entire 
course. It is to be lamented that so many precious moments are 
lost in the pursuit of that which is useless or pernicious, at an age 
when the native mind exhibits its greatest intelligence. The chil- 
dren of Indian parents, up to a certain period, are quicker than 
children of the same years living in more temperate climes ; but 
when this age is past, they either become contented with their 
attainments, or sink into comparative inanition ; whilst the mind of 
the fairer child still pants after new accumulatons, and seeks the 
zest of existence in the thick coming of thoughts — 

" Whose very sweetness leaveth proof 
That they were born for immortality." 

The individual is the type of the race ; and they live from genera- 
tion to generation with as little change as is heard in the song of 
the bird or seen in the cell of the bee. Their precocity of mind and 
subsequent inferiority have indeed been thought to be allied to in- 
stinct, which, at once perfect in its degree, admits of no after-im- 
provement ; but the difference is in a great measure to be accounted 
for by the position in which the child of the Asiatic is placed ; nor 
can Ave doubt that if he were insulated from the depressing influ- 
ences to which he is subject, and an object worthy of his ambition 
were placed before him, the battle between the two races for the 
prize of intellectual superiority would be much more evenly con- 

The explanation of these works to their pupils, with the instruc- 
tions imparted to the novices, occupies a considerable portion of the 
time of the superior priests. In some parts of the island medicine 
is practised by the priests to a considerable extent, and they are 
much in repute for their skill. The Walgam priest, who succeeded 
the learned Karatot as maha-nayaka, or principal priest of the dis- 
trict of Matura, in 1827, owed his elevation entirely to his celebrity 
as a medical man. Some of their compounds are very complicated, 
having even a greater number of ingredients than were used in the 
Salernian school in the eleventh century, when in one prescription 

* Clough's Account of the Books in the Oriental Library purchased for the 
Wesleyan Mission from the estate of the late W, Tolfrey, Esq. 


tliere were sometimes more than fifty items. Like the Egyptian phy- 
sicians they depend much upon asterisms and exorcisms. A few of 
the priests employ their leisure moments in copying books, but in this 
department the energy that they exhibit is small ; as very few of the 
pansals contain a good assortment of books, and where more nume- 
rous collections are found, they have usually been handed down 
from the priests of former times. They are less excusable in this 
respect than the ancient monks, as the material of which their books 
are fabricated costs only a trifle when compared with the price of 
parchment in the middle ages, or of papyrus in more remote periods. 
The pansal is the usual place of gossip for the men of the village, 
more especially in places where the demon that accompanies the 
spread of British influence, the sale of intoxicating liquors, has not 
found its way. In some instances priests, whilst yet wearing the 
yellow robe, give instruction in Singhalese and Pali to English gen- 

In no part of the island that I have visited do the priests, as a 
body, appear to be respected by the people, though there are indi- 
vidual exceptions in which a priest is popular, either from his learn- 
in s, his skill in medicine, the sweetness of his voice, or his atten- 
tion to the duties of his profession. I feel unwilling to make any 
positive statement as to their moral conduct, as it was generally 
described to me by interested persons. It may be inferred, in some 
measure, from their position as constrained celibates, in a country 
where the people pay little regard to the most sacred bonds. But 
when I have heard them spoken against, it has been rather on ac- 
count of their rapacity than their licentiousness ; though I have 
sometimes, and especially in certain districts, heard them accused 
of a great crime. In many places the people stand in awe of them, 
as they suppose that they have the power to inflict various calami- 
ties upon the subjects of their wrath. This fear is, however, by no 
means of universal prevalence. In 1839, some females went with 
brooms in their hands to the pansal at Raddalowa, near Negombo, 
and requested the priest to leave the place immediately, threatening 
in case of his refusal to use the brooms upon his back. The quarrel 
arose from an attempt of the priest to overcome the virtue of a young 
woman who had brought some cakes as an offering to Budha. The 
virtuous indignation of the broom-bearers triumphed; and the priest 
was obliged to leave the village. In the same year five men went 
one evening to a temple, and requested the priest to allow them to 



remain there for the night. This request was granted ; but after it 
was dark they seized him, bound together his hands and feet, 
making bands of his own robe, and having thus secured liim, 
bound also the servants that were residing with him, and then took 
away whatever they found that was of value. Instances are known 
in which priests have been found murdered in their pansals. 

Under the native monarchs the priests possessed many privileges, 
and received the most distinguished honours. The yellow robe 
was sometimes assumed in order to escape from the punishment of 
crime; but not always with impunity. About a.d. 974 there was 
a revolt against Uddaya III. the leaders of which sought security 
by becoming priests. They were, however, seized and decapitated, 
after which their heads were thrown into the street ; but the popu- 
lace rose against the king, and subjected a number of his courtiers 
to the same fate. It is stated by the Abbe le Grand, in his continua- 
tion of Ribeyro's History of Ceylon (as translated by Lee), that the 
priests, up to the time of Raja Singha, received almost the same 
honours as the king himself; the impunity granted them being the 
more dangerous, as they were frequently engaged in conspiracies 
against the prince ; and as they influenced the minds of the people 
according to their own will, they became very formidable opponents 
to the sovereign. In consequence of their disalFection Raja Singha 
abolished the exemption from punishment they previovisly enjoyed. 
Since the British took possession of the island, instances have not 
been wanting in which the priests have manifested a disposition to 
emulate the acts of their predecessors in their intrigues against the 
established government. 

There are many of the wiharas that have no lands attached to 
them that would come under the denomination of glebe, unless we 
include the garden near the priest's residence, in which there are 
generally cocoa-nut and other fruit-trees. But in some instances, 
as we have previously noticed, the temples are rich in lands, and 
some of the most productive vallies in the interior belong to the 
wihara in Kandy called the Malagawa, from its having been con- 
nected with the palace. The temple service is popular, on account 
of the perquisites that can be gained. The various hands through 
which the produce has to pass affords a favourable opportunity for 
peculation, as each person retains a large share, and the actual re- 
ceipts of the priesthood are comparatively small ; but this is prin- 
cipally when the temple is at a distance from the ecclesiastical 


domain, and the collecting of the produce has to be entrusted en- 
tirely to laics. After the conquest of the interior of Ceylon, in 
1815, by the British, the king of England succeeded to the rights 
and privileges of the Kandian monarch, as head of the Budhist and 
Brahmanical churches ; by which means acts were continually pre- 
sented on the part of our professedly Christian government that 
must have been greatly offensive in the sight of Him before whom 
idolatry is "the abominable thing," utterly hated. This unholy 
alliance is now happily dissolved. The possession of lands by the 
priesthood, and the disputes that continually arise between the in- 
cumbents and their retainers, cause the priests to be frequently seen 
in the courts of law, which has had a tendency to bring them into 
disrepute with the more thoughtful of their adherents. They can- 
not possess lands us their own personal property, nor can they make 
over to others the property of the temples ; but in many cases, the 
evils of nepotism are presented ; and it would appear that in this 
way the revenues of many of the temples are scattered, as they are 
known to be rich in lands ; and yet the sacred buildings are allowed 
to fall into ruin, scarcely an effort being made to prevent their de- 
struction by the elements that in Ceylon lay waste the goodliest 
edifices with a might and rapidity never witnessed in more tem- 
perate climes. 

The privileges granted to, or assumed by, the western monks, 
were of varied character and great importance. Like the sramanas 
of Budha they sometimes released criminals on their way to execu- 
tion, by throwing over them the cowl. As the will of the monarch 
or noble was law, their interposition, when placed between the 
irritated chief and his innocent victim, would, in some instances, 
be beneficial ; and the more so, as the rescued prisoner was com- 
monly required from that time to submit to the restraints of mo- 
nastic discipline. In the letters patent granted by Richard II. to 
the monks of Fountain's Abbey, x.i). 1387, we have a summary of 
their principal rights and immvmities, which include " sac, soc, toll, 
team, and infangenetheoff, with the courts of all their tenants, and 
the cognizance of all transgressions in their lands, with the assize of 
bread and ale ; the nomination or removal of their own bailiffs and 
servants, with all the fines and forfeitures within their premises ; 
exemption from the assize of the county, riding, and wapontake, 
from dancgeld, aids, scutage, pontage, pedage, and carriage ; from 
tolls for repairing castles, clearing fosses, stallage, and taillage ; 



and no man could arrest any person within their premises, without 
the abbot and convent's leave." * Under the native monarchs, the 
tenants and retainers of the Budhistical establishments, when con- 
victed of an offence before a chapter of the sangha, were either 
mulcted or required to execute some laborious work for the benefit 
of the fraternity. To have inflicted corporal chastisement, however 
slight, would have been regarded as a breach of the sacred code. 
The superior priests, though they could pvinish their predial ser- 
vants, never sat as judges in other courts of law. 

The priests who are attached to the smaller wiharas, when over- 
taken by the infirmities of age, and unable to carry the alms-bowl, 
are sometimes neglected by their followers, and have difficulty in 
obtaining a supply of food. I have noticed this particularly in the 
border districts, between the villages that have embraced Chris- 
tianity, and those that are yet in heathendom. After their death, the 
bodies of the priests are burnt. In the year 1827, I witnessed the 
ceremony of the burning of the body of a young man, about twenty- 
two years of age, who had expired the preceding evening. It took 
place at Walgam, about two miles from the fort of Matura. The 
body was placed in a palanquin, and then carried to the spot where 
it was to be burnt, preceded by banners and tomtoms. About 
twenty priests followed in procession, among whom was the vene- 
rable uncle of the deceased, who had educated him, under the sup- 
position that he would have succeeded to the temple over which he 
presided. On account of his great age and infirmity he had to be 
supported by the younger priests, and appeared to be much affected. 
The procession marched once round the pile, which was composed 
of a great heap of wood, laid in regular layers, and surmounted by 
a canopy made of the tender leaves of the cocoa-nut tree. The 
body, divested of its robes, was placed with its face downwards, in 
the centre of the pile, to which the uncle applied the torch, and the 
whole was soon in a blaze that spread its glare far and wide. Pieces 
of cloth were distributed to the poor ; but no form was read, nor 
was any address delivered to the people. A rude monument is 
generally erected over the ashes of the priests, on the summit of 
which a bo-tree is planted. 

The ceremonies practised in Burma, upon the same occasion, are 
much more expensive and imposing. As soon as the priest has ex- 
pired, his corpse is opened in order to extract the viscera, which 

* Btirton's Monasticon Eboracense. 


are buried in .some decent place, and it is then embalmed after the 
fasliion of the country. The body is swathed with bands of white 
linen, wrapped many times round it in every part, and upon these is 
laid a thick coat of varnish. To this succeeds a covering of gold, 
that adheres to the varnish ; and in this manner the body is gilded 
from head to foot ; after w^hich it is put into a large chest, and ex- 
posed to the veneration of the people. Upon this coffin great care 
and expence are bestowed, the superior priests being accustomed to 
have it made several years before their death, so that its beauty is 
frequently such as to cause it to be admired by foreigners as well as 
natives. It is usually gilded all over, and adorned besides with 
flowers made of polished substances, sometimes even of precious 
stones. Placed in this superb receptacle, the body is exposed in 
public for many days, or even entire months, during which time 
there is a continual festival ; bands of music are always playing, 
and the people flock in crowds to offer presents of money, rice, 
fruits, or other things necessary for the ceremony, by which the 
expences of the funeral are defrayed. When the day for the burning 
of the body has arrived, it is placed upon a large car with four 
wheels, to which is affixed a number of ropes, that the people may 
drag it to the cemetery. As the people divide themselves into two 
bodies, and strive wdth the greatest earnestness who shall have the 
honour of conveying the corpse to its destination, the vehicle is 
pulled first to the one side and then the other, until one party 
gains the advantage, and bears it off in triumph. Fireworks are 
let off near the pile, and beams of teak-wood are bored to receive a 
mixture of saltpetre and pounded charcoal. Great quantities of 
wood, gunpowder, and other combustibles, are heaped about the 
coffin, and the ceremony is concluded by setting fire to this pile, 
which is done by an immense rocket, guided to it by a cord.* 
When the deceased priest has maintained a character for peculiar 
sanctity, a part of his remains is not unfrequently preserved from 
the flames and retained as valuable relics. 

Bishop Smith, in his account of the monastery at Honan, says, 
" We were conducted to the place where, in a kind of oven, the 
bodies of the deceased priests are consumed by fire. Near to this 
was the mausoleum, in which the ashes of the burnt bodies are de- 
posited on a certain day in each year. Adjoining to it was a little 

* Sangermano's Burmese Empire. 

Y 2 


cell, in which the urns containing the ashes are temporarily placed 
till the periodical season for opening the mausoleum." 

During the visit of Fa Hian to Ceylon, he was present at the 
burning of a priest's body at Anuradhapura. The ceremonies that 
took place were similar to those already described, except that, in 
the place of gunpowder, odoriferous woods and costly perfumes, 
provided at the expence of the king, were burnt upon the occasion. 

The priests of Ceylon trace their origin from a remote period, as, 
according to the native legends, Budhism has there been professed 
more than 2000 years. In the 236th year after the demise of 
Gotama Budha, or e.g. 307, the reigning monarch, Dewananpiya- 
tissa (or Tissa, the delight of the Dewas), sent ambassadors with 
magnificent presents to Asoka, the great promoter of Budhism, 
who reigned at Pataliputra, the Palibothra of Megasthenes. The 
voyage occupied seven days, and seven more were occupied, after 
landing upon the continent, before the great city was reached. 
They were received graciously by the king, and on their return they 
were accompanied by other ambassadors from the Indian court, 
bearing valuable gifts, who were instructed to say to Dewananpiya- 
tissa, in the name of the king. " I have taken refuge in Budha, 
his Truth, and his Priesthood ; I have become an vipasaka in the 
religion of Sakya. Ruler of men, embuing thy mind with the con- 
viction of the truth of these supreme blessings, with unfeigned 
faith do thou also take refuge in this salvation.'' 

In the same year, after the conclusion of the third great coimcil of 
the Budhists, several priests were deputed as missionaries to different 
countries, among whom was Mahindo, the son of Asoka, who had 
renounced the world twelve years previously to this event. Accom- 
panied by four priests and a novice, and a layman named Bhandu, 
he came through the air to Lanka, and alighted on a hill not far 
from the city of Anuradhapura, which was at that time the capital 
of the island. Upon the same day the king went to hunt, and was 
attracted by a dewa, who had assumed the appearance of an elk, to 
the spot where the priests had alighted ; upon which Mahindo ap- 
proached the king, and calling him simply Tissa, informed him of 
the object of their visit. The king enquired how they had come, 
and he replied, " I have not come either by land or by water ;" 
after which the priest, to try the capacity of the king, thus ad- 
dressed him, " Have you any relations ?" The monarch replied, 
"I have many." Mahindo : " Are there any persons not thy rela- 


tions ?" The king : " There are many who are not my relations." 
Mahindo : " Besides thy relations, and those who are not thy rela- 
tions, is there, or is there not, any other being ?"' The king : " There 
is myself." Mahindo : " Sadhu, ruler of men, thou art wise." By 
this means the priest discovered that the king was sufficiently gifted 
to understand the doctrines he had come to teach, upon which he 
recited to him one of the discourses of Budha ; and the monarch, 
with the 40,000 followers by whom he was accompanied in the 
chase, embraced the religion of Budha. Soon afterwards the novice 
was commissioned to go to the court of Asoka, by Mahindo, 
whence to procure relics of Gotama, and the dish he used at his 
meals ; and after procuring these he was to go to the dewa-loka of 
Sekra, to procure the right collar-bone of the sage. All this was 
accomplished in the course of one single day. For the reception of 
the collar-bone the dagoba called Thuparama was erected ; and on 
the day of its erection 30,000 persons entered the priesthood. 

The princess Anula, daughter of the monarch of Ceylon, declared 
her intention to renounce the world, but there was no one who 
could admit her to profession, as it was not lawful for any but a 
chapter composed of females to perform the ceremony. Accordingly, 
Arittho, the nephew of the king, was deputed to go to Pataliputra, 
and invite Sanghamitta, sister of Mahindo, who had also embraced 
the life of a recluse, to come over to Lanka, to aid in the propaga- 
tion of the faith ; and at the same time the messenger was directed 
to request a branch of the bo-tree under which Sidhartta became a 
supreme Budha. Upon the same day as his departure he arrived at 
the court of Asoka, who, on hearing his message, was unwilling to 
part with his daughter ; but she said, " Great king, the injunction 
of my brother is imperative ; and those who are to be ordained are 
many ; on that account it is meet that I should repair thither." By 
this means she overcame the reluctance of her royal parent. The 
kino- also consented to send the right branch of the bo-tree ; but as 
he knew that it would be irreverent to cut it with an instrument, he 
went himself to the tree, attended by a thousand priests, and a great 
retinue of people, and making a streak with vermillion from a golden 
pencil, he said, " If this supreme right bo-branch, detached from 
this tree, is destined to depart hence to Lanka, let it, self-severed, 
instantly transplant itself to the golden vase I have prepared for its 
reception." The branch detached itself at once from the tree, and 
entered the vase, where it put forth a hundred shoots. Sanghamitta 


was accompanied by eleven priestesses and the ambassador, Arittho. 
The vessel in which they embarked was assailed by the naga snake- 
n-ods, that they might obtain possession of the bo-tree, though the 
ocean did it homage by remaining calm to the distance of a yojana 
around it, and the winds were equally respectful, causing music to 
be heard in the breeze, but by the supernatural power of the great 
priestess it was rescued from this danger, and brought in safety to 
Ceylon. The king rushed into the sea to receive it on its approach, 
and it was taken to the capital with all due ceremony. Arrived at 
the place where it was destined to flourish so long as Budhism shall 
be professed, it sprang into the air, self- poised, and ascended to the 
brahma-loka, remaining there until the setting of the sun, when it 
returned to the earth and set itself in the ground, instantly putting 
forth roots, branches, and fruit. 

However absurd these legends may appear, they are received as 
true both by priests and people. They throw a halo of sn much 
brightness about the origin of the priestly order, that they are un- 
willing to examine whether they be a mere deception, caused by the 
length of the vista through which they are seen, or a grand reality 
under which their ancestors were permitted to rejoice. But although 
in this they may be led astray, they have cause of lawful exultation 
in the stand that their forefathers have made against the encroach- 
ments of the continental invaders. They did not say, as the pusil- 
lanimous Britons, under similar circumstances, are reported to have 
done, " the barbarians drive us into the sea, and the sea drives us 
back on the barbarians." The faith of Gotama was preserved ; but 
it has not retained its hold upon Ceylon because it has had no 
powerful enemy with Avhich to contend. The struggle was con- 
tinued century after century ; and if the warriors of Lanka had had 
an adequate historian to record their deeds, there are many places 
amidst its rice-clad hills that would have been magic names, vying 
in interest with Marathon or Thermopyla?. The Singhalese can 
point to a succession of 185 kings, from b. c. 543, and can rightly 
maintain that they are not a catalogue sprung from the brain of 
of some old chronicler, who had only to write down syllables, and 
thus create a line of monarchs. Whilst the nations of Europe have 
been again and again broken into fragments, and re-constructed 
under many different forms, all more or less heterogeneous, Ceylon 
has retained its almost primeval identity ; and can exhibit its lan- 
guage, its religion, and its sacred monuments, as triumphant evi- 


deuces of the fact. It is a problem worthy of investigation, how it 
has come to pass that the Budhist nations have preserved their in- 
dividuality a longer period than any other people, if we except the 
nomadic tribes, upon the face of the earth. There is no country in 
either Europe or Asia, beside those that are Budhist, in which the 
same religion is now professed that was there existent at the time 
of the Redeemer's death. 

The upasampada succession was several times lost during these 
wars. It was last renewed in the reign of Kirtti Sri, who, however, 
consented to an arrangement that produced a great innovation upon 
orthodox Budhism. A decree was issued that ordination should be 
conferred only upon members of the gowi or agricultural caste, this 
being the principal caste in the island ; and it was also established 
as a rule that the privilege should not be conferred anywhere but 
in Kandy, the residence of the king. At the same time the priests 
were divided into two communities, generally known by the name 
of the Malwatta and Asgiri establishments. The maha-nayakas, or 
principal priests of both establishments, reside in Kandy. They 
have equal authority ; and the one is not in any way subordinate to 
the other. The priests under them believe precisely the same doc- 
trines, and are bound by the same canons, so that they are two 
independent and co-equal communities of one and the same faith. 
It is difficult to discover in what way the distinction at first arose, 
unless the king may have wished to appoint a favourite to office 
without displacing the legitimate hierarch. Nearly all the priests 
in Ceylon belong to one or other of these establishments ; but not 
in equal proportions, the Malwatta having a greater number of 
wiharas under its authority. There appears likewise to be a terri- 
torial division of the island, the Malwatta having authority over the 
temples towards the south of Kandy, and the Asgiri over those 
towards the north ; but in some instances I have noticed that the 
priests of adjoining villages belong to different establishments. 

The unauthorised regulation of Kirtti Sri naturally produced great 
dissatisfaction among the inferior castes. There is a caste called the 
chalia, or halagama, the members of which affirm that they came 
originally from India for the purpose of weaving cloth of gold, 
though by others a different origin is ascribed to their race. In 
more recent times they were employed by the successive European 
governments of the island in cutting cinnamon and preparing it for 
exportation, which being a profitable source of revenue, gave them 



considerable influence and importance. They are an enterprising 
race, Avith more of daring in their character than the rest of the 
Singhalese, and are strong in their attachment to Budhism. About 
the beginning of the present century, Ambagahapitya, a priest of 
this caste, accompanied by five other samaneras, visited various 
countries wherein Budhism is professed, with the intention of re- 
ceiving ordination, that he might have the power to confer this 
privilege upon other members of the same caste on his return to 
Ceylon. From the observations that he made in the course of his 
travels, he inferred that Budhism was professed in the greatest 
purity by the Burmans, which induced him to remain in that 
country until he had qualified himself for ordination. It is said 
that he was well received by the king of Burma and by the priests ; 
and on his return, in 1802, after he had succeeded in the object of 
his wishes, he was accompanied by five Burman priests and by the 
samaneras, all of whom had become upasampada. These envoys 
had with them a sandesa,'^' or missive, from the principal priest in 
Burma to the sangha raja of Ceylon. 

These priests, on their arrival, began to exercise the power they 
had received; by which means another community was established, 
in contradistinction to the Malwatta and Asgiri establishments of 
Kandy. At first it was not joined by any but the chalias ; but it is 
now more extended in its influence, and includes priests of all 
castes. The more ancient establishments are called the Siam 
society, from the succession having been received from that country, 
whilst the other is called the Amarapura society, from its having 
originated from Burma. " The two parties thus formed," says a 
native writer, " are great competitors, and deny nirwana to each 
other ; and as much animosity is to be seen among them as is to be 
found between two sects of any other religion. Their animosity is 
so great that they do not salute each other when they meet, and call 
each other duk-silayas, or priests v/ithout sanctity. The object of 
of the Amarapura priests is to bring back the doctrines of Budhism 
to its pristine purity, by disentangling them from caste, polytheism, 
and other corruptions to which it has been subject for ages ; and 
these priests, how difficult soever the task may be, have made a 
considerable progress in this reformation in the low countries, but 
especially in Saff"ragan, which may at present be regarded as the 

* A Translation of this Letter appeal's in the Ceylon Friend for Jan. 1845, 
by Mr. Z. de Zoysa. 


seat of this reformation, and where the difference in the tenets and 
principles of the two sects is greater and wider than anywhere 
else."* The same writer observes that the Amarapuras differ from 
the others on tlie foUowinjij points: — 1. They publicly preach 
against the doctrines of Hinduism, and do not invoke the Hindu 
gods at the recitation of pirit. 2. They give ordination to all castes, 
associating with them indiscriminately, and preach against the 
secular occupations of the Siamese priests, such as practising physic 
and astrology. None of their fraternity are allowed to follow such 
practises on pain of excommunication. 3. They do not acknow- 
ledge the authority of the royal edicts, that they have anything to 
do with their religion ; neither do they acknowledge the Bud- 
hist hierarchy, nor the sanctity of the simas connected with the 
Malwatta and Asgiri wiharas, as they ordain in any sima provided 
it is set up according to the precepts of Budha. 4. They do not 
follow^ the observances of the Pase-Budhas, unless sanctioned by 
Gotama. They do not, therefore, recite a benediction at the re- 
ceiving of food or any other offering. 5. They do not use two 
seats nor employ two priests when bana is read, nor quaver the 
voice,"as not being authorised by Budha. 6. They expound and 
preach the Winaya to the laity, whilst the Siamese read it only to 
the priests, and then only a few passages, with closed doors. 7. 
They perform a ceremony equivalent to confirmation a number of 
years after ordination, whilst the Siamese perform it immediately 
after. 8. They lay great stress on the merits of the pan-pinkama, 
or feast of lamps, which they perform during the whole night, with- 
out any kind of preaching or reading ; whereas the Siamese kindle 
only a few lamps in the evening and repeat bana until the morning. 
9. The Amarapuras differ from the Siamese by having both the 
shoulders covered with a peculiar role of robe under the armpit, 
and by leaving the eyebrows vmshorn. As Pali literature is very 
assiduously cultivated by the Amarapuras, in order that they may 
expose the errors and corruptions of their opponents, it is expected 
that the breach between the two sects will become wider as time 

Another sect arose about the year 1835, originating in a discus- 
sion that was carried on between a priest at Bentotte, called Atta- 
dassa, and a few followers, on the one side, and the majority of 
both the Siam and Amarapura fraternities on the otlier. The prin- 

* Mr. Adam do Silva ; Ceylon Friend, Sept. 1845. 


cipal object of dispute is respecting the day of the month on which 
the ceremony called wass ought to be commenced; reminding us of 
the controversies that existed in the fourth and sixth centuries rela- 
tive to the mode of reckoning Easter. There is also some difference 
of opinion about the sanghika dana. The Bentotte priest puzzled 
his adversaries by his superior astronomical knowledge ; but he has 
few supporters. 

With these diversities of opinion and practice as exhibited by the 
Budhists belonging to one of the smallest among the nations of the 
world, we may infer that greater differences will exist between the 
Budhism of one country and that of another. There appears to be 
a general similarity between the religions of Ceylon, Burma, Siam, 
and China; but about the Adi Budhas of Nepaul, the lamas of Tibet, 
or the dairis of Japan, the Budhism of Ceylon knows nothing. 

Throughout Burma monasteries are seen near every village, how- 
ever small, and generally in situations that are beautiful or romantic 
in their character. These secluded sites may have been chosen by 
the priests as favourable to study and meditation ; but Crawford 
saw many sacred places that had been abandoned, and was told 
that it was on account of the numerous gangs of robbers, who paid 
little respect to the priests. At the time of his visit there was no 
crime more frequent among the Burmans than sacrilege, though it 
was frequently followed by the infliction of a cruel death. 

The Budhism of Burma, as illustrated by Sangermano, Buchanan, 
and Judson, appears to be identical with that of Ceylon in its prin- 
cipal rituals and ceremonies ; but there are a few observances to 
which I have met with nothing similar in the customs of the Sin- 
ghalese priests. One of the novices carries a piece of leather for 
the priest to sit upon when he goes abroad, whilst in Ceylon a piece 
of white cloth is always provided for this purpose by the people. 
The priests are obliged almost every moment to go through the 
ceremony called akat, which signifies a presentation or oblation. 
Thus, whenever one of them has occasion for anything, he says to 
the novice, " Do what is lawful ;" upon which the novice takes 
up the thing he may want, and presents it to him, saying these 
words, " This, sir, is lawful.'" The priest then takes it into his own 
hand, and eats it or lays it by, as may suit his convenience. In 
performing this ceremony the priest must stand at the distance of a 
cubit from his disciple, otherwise he is guilty of a sin ; and if what 
he receives be food, he commits as many sins as he receives mouth- 


fills. After covering their hands with a handkerchief, the priests 
have no scruple in receiving very large sums in gold and silver ; 
and they are said to be insatiable in their lust after riches, and to 
do little else than ask for them. The prohibition not to touch a 
woman extends to the priest's own mother ; and even if it should 
happen that she falls into a ditch, he may not pull her out ; but, if 
no other aid be near, he may offer her his robe or a stick ; at the 
same time he must imagine that he is pulling out only a log of 
wood. He may not caress a female child, however young, nor may 
he touch a female animal. 

Eastward of Ramree there is a considerable sect, the members of 
which maintain that there is one eternal God, who has manifested 
himself in the different Budhas. They deny the doctrine of trans- 
migration, and affirm that at death the future state of every human 
being is eternally fixed. They worship images of Gotama, merely 
as images, to remind them of deity. They have, however, temples 
and priests, and conform to all the Burman usages ; but they are 
rejected as heretics by their countrjnnen.** 

In Arrakan candidates for the priesthood are received without 
any regard to their country, caste, or previous religion. If the age 
of the postulant does not exceed fifteen years, he is appointed to the 
performance of menial duties, and gradually instructed about the 
duties he will afterwards be required to attend to, until he arrives at 
20 years of age, the period appointed for ordination. It is not unusual 
for young men to enter the order for a limited period, that they may 
acquire merit or expiate some crime. The children of the laity are 
educated at the monasteries, no distinction being made between the 
rich and poor ; and no remuneration is received by the priests be- 
yond their usual allowance of alms. Some of the boys are allowed 
to go home to their meals ; but they are obliged to sleep in the 
monastery, as the lessons they have learnt during the day are re- 
peated in the evening, or at daybreak on the following morning. 

About fifty years ago a class of metaphysicians arose in Ava, 
called Paramats, who respect only the Abhidharmma, and reject 
the other books that the Budhists consider as sacred, saying that 
they are only a compilation of fables and allegories. The founder 
of the sect, Kosan, with about fifty of his followers, was put to death 
by order of the king. 

For an account of the Budhism of Nepaul we must turn to the 

* Howard Malconi's Truvcls in South-Eastcru Asia. 


Avritings of Brian Houghton Hodgson, b.c.s., a gentleman to whose 
varied acquisitions, unwearied zeal, and munificent liberality, the 
interests of oriental literature and zoology are laid under the most 
weighty obligations. The following description appears in a small 
volume printed at Serampore, in 1841, entitled " Illustrations of the 
Literature and Religion of the Buddhists." It was written by an 
old man resident at Patna, in answer to the question, " How many 
castes are there among the Banras ?" the word banra being defined 
as a corruption of bandya, " the name of the Buddhamargi sect 
(because its followers make bandana, i. e. salutation and reverence 
to the proficients in bodhijnana)." " According to our Puranas," 
says this venerable authority, " whoever has adopted the tenets of 
Buddha, and has cut off the lock from the crown of his head, of 
whatever tribe or nation he be, becomes thereby a bandya. The 
Bhotiyas, for example, are bandyas, because they follow the tenets 
of Buddha, and have no lock on their heads. The bandyas are 
divided into two classes ; those who follow the Vahya-charya, and 
those who adopt the Abhyantara-charya — words equivalent to the 
Grihastha asram and Vairagi asram of the Brahmanas. The first 
class is denominated bhikshu ; the second, vajra acharya. The 
bhikshu cannot marry; but the vajra acharya is a family man. 
The latter is sometimes called, in the vernacular tongue of the 
Newars, gubhal, which is not a Sanskrit word. Besides this dis- 
tinction into monastic and secular orders, the bandyas are again 
divided, according to the scriptures, into five classes : first, arhan ; 
second, bhikshu; third, srawaka ; fourth, chailaka ; fifth, vajra 
acharj'a. The arhan is he who is perfect himself, and can give 
perfection to others ; who eats Avhat is offered to him, but never 
asks for anything. The bhikshu is he who assumes a staflT and 
beggar's dish (khikshari and pinda patra) sustains himself by alms, 
and devotes his attention solely to the contemplation (dhyana) of 
Adi-Budha, without ever intermeddling with worldly affairs. The 
chailaka is he who contents himself with such a portion of clothes 
(chilaka) as barely suffices to cover his nakedness, rejecting every 
thing more as superfluous. The bhikshu and chailaka very nearly 
resemble each other, and both (and the arhan also) are bound to 
practise celibacy. The vajra acharya is he who has a wife and 
children, and devotes himself to the active ministry of Buddhism. 
Such is the account of the five classes found in the scriptures ; but 
there are no traces of them in Nepaul. No one follows the rules of 


that class to which he nominally belongs. Among the Bhotiyas 
there are^^many bhikshus, who never marry ; and the Bhotiya Lania.s 
are'properly arhans. But all the Buddhamargis are married men, 
who pursue the business of the world, and seldom think of the in- 
junctions of their religion. The Tantras and Dharanis, which ought 
to be read for their own salvation, they read only for an increase of 
their stipend, and from a greedy desire of money. This diviyion 
into five classes is according to the scriptures ; but there is a 
popular division according to the vihars, and these vihars being 
very numerous, the separate congregations of the bandyas have 
been thus greatly multiplied. In Patan alone there are fifteen 
vihars. A temple to Adi-Budha, or to the five Dhyani-Budhas, 
called a chaitya, is utterly distinct from the vihar, and of the form 
of a sheaf of dhanya. But the temples of Sakya and the others of 
the Sapta Buddha Manushi, as well as those of other chief leaders 
and saints of Buddhism, are called vihars, ... In short, if any 
bandya die, and his son erect a temple in his name, such structure 
may be called such an one's (after his name) vihar. With this dis- 
tinction, however, that a temple to an eminent saint is denominated 
maha vihar, one to an ordinary mortal simply vihar." 

To this account Mr. Hodgson has appended the following note : — 
" Of course, therefore, the Bauddhas of Nepaul have not properly 
any diversityjof caste ; that is, any indelible distinction of ranks 
derived from birth, and necessarily carried to the grave. Genuine 
Budhism proclaims the equality of all followers of Buddha ; seems 
to deny to them the privilege of pursuing worldly avocations, and 
abhors the distinction of clergy and laity."^' All proper Bauddhas 
are bandyas ; and all bandyas are equal as brethren in the faith. 
They are properly all ascetics — some solitary, mostly coenobitical. 
Their convents are called vihars. The rule of these vihars is a rule 
of freedom ; and the door of every vihar is always open, both to the 
entrance of new comers, and to the departure of such of the old in- 
mates as are tired of their vows. Each vihar has a titular superior, 
whose authority over his brethren depends only on their voluntary 
deference to his superior learning or piety. Women are held equally 
worthy of admission with men, and each sex has its vihars. The 
old Bauddha scriptures enumerate four sorts of bandyas, named 
arhan, bhikshu, sravaka, and chailaka, who are correctly described 

* The author of this work has stated, page 12, the reasons why he does 
not asrce with this sentiment. 


in the text, and from that description it will be seen that there is no 
essential distinction between them, the arhan being only segregated 
from the rest by his superior proficiency in bodhijnan. Of these, 
the proper institutes of Budhism, there remains hardly a trace in 
Nepaul. The very names of arhan and chailaka have passed 
aw^ay — the names, and the names only, of the other tAvo exist; 
and out of the gradual, and now total, disuse of monastic institutes, 
an exclusive minister of the altar, denominated vajra acharya, has 
derived his name, office, and existence in Nepaul, not only without 
sanction from the Bauddha scriptures, but in direct opposition to 
their spirit and tendency. Nepaul is still covered with vihars ; but 
these ample and comfortable abodes have long resounded with the 
hum of industry, and the pleasant voices of men and women. The 
superior ministry of religion is now solely in the hands of the ban- 
dyas, entitled vajra acharya, in Sanskrit ; gubhal, in Newari : the 
inferior ministry, such bhikshus as still follow religion as a lucrative 
and learned profession, are competent to dischai-ge. And these 
professions of the vajra acharya, and of the bhikshu, have become 
by usage hereditary, as have all other avocations and pursuits, 
whether civil or religious, in Nepaul. And as in the modern cor- 
rupt Buddhism of Nepaul there are exclusive ministers of religion, 
ox priests, so are there many Bauddhas who retain the lock on the 
crown of the head, and are not bandyas. These improper Bauddhas 
are called udas ; they never dwell in the vihars, look up to the 
bandyas with a reverential respect derived from the misapplication 
of certain ancient tenets, and follow those trades and avocations 
which are comparatively disreputable (among which is, foreign com- 
merce) ; while the bandyas, who have abandoned the profession of 
religion, practise those crafts Avhich are most esteemed. Agri- 
culture is equally open to both ; but is, in fact, chiefly followed by 
the udas, who have thus become, in course of time, more numerous 
than the bandyas, notwithstanding the early abandonment by the 
bandyas of those ascetical practices wdiich their faith enjoins, the 
resort of the greater part of them to the active business of the 
world, and their usurpation of all the liberal, and three-fourths of 
the mechanical, arts of their country ; for the bandyas have the 
exclusive inheritance of thirty-six professions and trades ; the udas, 
that of seven trades only. The vajra acharya and bhikshu are the 
religious guides and priests of both bandyas and udas. All ban- 
dyas, whatever be the profession or trade they hereditarily exercise, 


are still equal ; they intermarry and communicate in all the social 
offices of life — and the like is true of all udas — but between the one 
class and the other growing superstition has erected an insuperable 

The Budhism of Tibet is a still greater departure from the ob- 
servances of the original institute. It was introduced into this 
country in the seventh century. The superior priests who are called 
lamas, are regarded as incarnations of Budha, and possess so large 
a share of political authority that they can depose the sovereign of 
the country, and substitute another in his stead. It is said that 
formerly they were themselves the supreme rulers of the country, 
until one of the royal family, at the death of the principal lama, 
declared that the spirit of the deceased hierarch had entered into 
his body, by which he regained the power that had been usurped 
by the priests. The dress of the grand lama is yellow ; that of 
other lamas of svxperior rank, red ; and as these dignitaries wear 
broad-brimmed hats, their costume closely resembles that of the 
cardinals of Home. In addition to the existence of monastic estab- 
lishments for both sexes, the acknowledgment of a supreme in- 
fallible head of the whole religious community, and the adoption of 
pageantry in public worship, still further assimilate the Budhism of 
Tibet to the characteristics of the Romish church. Under its restrain- 
ing influence the terrific Moguls and other Tartars are said to have 
been comparatively a mild and peaceable race. Celibacy is equally 
professed by the lamas, who are regarded as the secular clergy, and 
by the gelums, or monks, and anis, or nuns. The number of eccle- 
siastics and recluses bears an enormous proportion to the bulk of 
the community. Moorcroft (Trans. Royal As. Soc. 1824) states that 
nearly two-thirds of the productive lands are appropriated to the 
support of the priesthood.* A writer in the Athena?um, who re- 
cently visited this country, says: — "The sacred cradle of Shamenism, 
Tibet, is governed by an hierarchy possessed of the most absolute 
sway, and supported by an army, not of soldiers, but of monks. In 
every habitable spot throughout the country monasteries and nun- 
neries rear their heads in stately grandeur ; while the mass of the 
inhabitants seem contented with the honour of contributing towards 
the support of this priestly system. A life of laziness is looked on 

as the highest bliss ; labour for daily bread is a disgrace The 

capital of Tibet, Lhasga, the principal residence of the dalai lama, 

* Thornton's Gazetteer, art. Ladakh. 


with a population of 30,000 souls, contains many splendid monastic 
establishments, and is a place of considerable commercial impor- 
tance." Csoma Kdrosi, who died of fever at Darjeeling, in Nepaul, 
in 1842, explored Great Tibet, and published a mass of information 
relative to its literature and religion, principally in the Journal of 
the Asiatic Society of Bengal. " The different systems of Budhism 
derived from India, and known now to the Tibetians,'' says this 
most enterprising traveller, " are the following four: — Vaibhashika, 
Santrantika, Yogacharya, and Medhyamika. The first consists of four 
principal classes, with its subdivisions. They originated with Sha- 
kyas four disciples, who are called in Sanskrit, Rahula, Kashyapa, 
Upali, and Katyayana : — 1. The followers of Rahula were divided 
into four sects, and wore on their religious garb from twenty-five to 
nine narrow pieces of cloth. The distinctive mark of this class was 
a water-lily jewel and tree-leaf, put together in the form of a nose- 
gay. 2. The followers of Kashyapa, of the brahman caste, were 
divided into six sects, and wore on their religious garb from twenty- 
three to three pieces of narrow cloth. They carried a shell or 
couch as a distinctive mark or their school. 3. The followers of 
Upali, of the sudra tribe, were divided into three sects. They wore 
on their religious garb from twenty -one to five pieces of narrow 
cloth. They carried a sortsika flower as a mark of their school, and 
were styled ' the class which is honoured by many.' 4. The fol- 
lowers of Katyayana, of the vaisya tribe, were divided into three 
sects, and wore the same number of narrow pieces of cloth as the 
former class. They had as their mark the figure of a wheel, and 
were styled ' the class that have a fixed habitation.' " I am not 
aware that the existence of these sects is known to the Budhists of 
Ceylon. They probably arose from some local dispute vipon the 
subject of caste.''' 

The most interesting account of the priests of China that I have 
met with is presented in Bishop Smith's "Missionary Visit to China, 
1844-46." From this source we learn that many of the priests of 
that country are fugitives, outlaws and bandits, who have been 
driven by want or fear to seek an asylum in the monasteries ; though 
it is probable that some of them may have been led to seek solace 
in these retreats from the sorrows of life, prompted by a purer mo- 
tive. The priests of Honan, near Canton, are generally a low set 
of men, only a few being versed in the native literature. The in- 

* Journal Bengal As. Soc. Feb. 1838. 


mates of the monasteries are only bound to a life of celibacy so 
long as they remain attached to the sacred community. For the 
most part they adhere to this mode of life from necessity, as they 
have no other mode of obtaining a livelihood ; yet it is considered 
disreputable for them to return to the world that they profess to 
have abandoned. They may be seen standing at the entrance of the 
temples, leading an idle, sauntering life, " distinguished more by 
their bare shaven crowns, than by their manners or demeanour, 
from the surrounding crowds of idlers." An old priest, above 
eighty years of age, who resided at Teen Tung, confessed that the 
priests who came thither from a distance had almost invariably fled 
from home on account of the commission of some crime. " Here,"' 
says the bishop, " these wretched specimens of humanity live to- 
gether in idleness. No community of interest, no ties of social life, 
no object of generous ambition, beyond the satisfying of those wants 
which bind them to the cloister, help to diversify the monotonous 
current of their daily life. Separated by a broad demarkation from 
the rest of society, and bound by vows to a life of celibacy and 
asceticism, they are cut ofi" from the ordinary engagements of our 
world, without any well-founded hope of a better life.'' A gentle- 
man who recently visited the temple of Koo Shan, near Foo-chow- 
foo, thus describes the manners of the priests in a more northern 
district of the celestial empire : — " I Avas led," he says, " to the 
kitchen and dining-room. When it is remembered that upwards of 
100 priests get their meals daily here, it may be easily imagined 
that these places are worthy of a visit. The dining-room is a large 
square building, having a number of tables placed across it, at 
which the priests sit and eat their frugal meals. At the time of 
my visit they had just sat down to dinner. They appeared a strange 
and motley assembly. Most of them had a most stupid and unin- 
tellectual appearance — these were generally the lower orders of the 
priesthood. The abbot and those who ranked highest Avere intelli- 
gent and active looking men ; but all had a kind of swarthy pale- 
ness of countenance which was not agreeable to look on. Many of 
them rose as I entered their dining-room, and jiolitely asked me to 
sit down and eat rice. The wonders shoAvn the visitors in the kit- 
chen are some uncommonly large coppers in Avhich the rice is 
boiled." *- 

The Budhism of Japan, in having a visible representative of G6- 

AthenaDum, Oct. 20, 1847. 



tama, possessed of unlimited power, resembles that of Tibet. There 
is another resemblance in the fact, that as in Tibet the four sects 
there existent are supposed to have had their origin from men of four 
different castes, so in Japan it is supposed that the four first pon- 
tiffs, after the death of Gotama, belonged to the four great castes 
of India in their regular order. The legends known to the Japanese 
evince that the historical portions of their sacred records have been 
derived from the same sources as the Budhism of Ceylon and the 
continental nations professing the same faith ; but beyond this I 
have no means of ascertaining the identity of their respective tenets. 
The palace of the dairi, or supreme pontiff, in the spiritual metro- 
polis, Miako, is said to form in itself a town of considerable size. 
The temples are extramural, being built upon eminences that com- 
mand the most delightful prospects. In the largest, called the 
temple of Dai Bud, or the Great Budha, resting on ninety-six 
columns, there is a gilt statue of the sage, of the usual form and 
appearance, but so immensely large, that according to the Japanese, 
" six persons can squat, without inconvenience, on the palm of his 
hand," and his shoulders reach from pillar to pillar, a space mea- 
suring from 30 to 32 feet. 
y/ The Burmans, Siamese, Nepaulese, Tibetans, Chinese, and 
Japanese, are the principal nations, in addition to the Singhalese, 
who now profess Budhism. Once predominant throughout India, 
it is now nearly unknown in that vast region, except as seen among 
the Jainas, who appear to profess either a spurious Budhism, or a 
kindred faith derived from the same original source as the tenets of 
Gotama. It does not comport with the plan of this work to enter 
upon the historical, the psychological, or even the ethical features 
of this great system ; but as the character of the priesthood cannot 
be rightly understood, without a deeper insight into the general 
system than it is possible to derive from the statements contained 
in the preceding pages, a few additional remarks are here presented, 
for the information of any reader who may be unaccustomed to 
oriental research. 

All that we can now know of the doctrines of Budha is from in- 
direct sources, as he left nothing in writing ; and the works that 
profess to record his discourses commonly include legends that can 
have only a very slight foundation in truth. Thus it is utterly im- 
possible that Budha himself can have laid claim to the wonderful 
powers that are ascribed to him by his followers ; unless we sup- 


pose that he was either labouring under an aberration of intellect 
or that he was a wilful deceiver of the people. The miracles with 
which his name is connected, have been, during many ages, one 
principal support of the system ; but when it comes to be philoso- 
phically considered, they will prove one of the readiest means of its 
destruction. We must reject almost entirely the accounts we have 
of the personal history of Budha, in all perhaps but the bare outline 
of his life, such as his family, the age in which he lived, the names 
of his contemporaries, and the places of his residence. All the rest 
is either allegory, as his battle with Mara ; exaggeration, as the 
accounts of the honours he received and the acts he performed ; or 
absolute falsehood, as the fable of his journey, at three steps, to the 
dewa-loka of Sekra. The doctrines he taught, apart from the effects 
they are said to have produced, may have been handed down with 
greater precision, as there was here less temptation to pervert the 
simple truth. 

The doctrines now current under the name of Budha, are essen- 
tially atheistic, in the usual acceptation of the term. There is a 
supreme power, but not a supreme Being ; or if Budha is regarded 
as supreme it is only in a modified sense, as this is not the name of 
a single entity, but of many entities ; not indeed existent, at least 
in their full potentiality, at the same period ; but all resembling 
each other in a much more perfect manner than is possible under 
the ordinary circumstances of men. The supreme power is karma, 
the merit and demerit of intelligent existence. It is this that con- 
trols all things, sometimes acting in an aggregate capacity, as in the 
general economy of the universe ; but more clearly seen in the 
effects it produces upon the individual being. From its conse- 
quences there is no escape, except under peculiar circumstances ; 
and even the blessings conferred by Budha were declared to be 
the efiect of merit produced in previous stages of existence. It was 
this merit that placed the different persons who became his disciples 
in a situation favourable for the reception of his assistance ; and 
unless there was this previous merit the advantages that he could 
confer were comparatively small. 

The Budhists teach that when Gotama Budha ceased to exist, 
near the city of Kusinara, he did not enter upon a future state of 
being ; his existence was not renewed in another world ; at that 
time he for ever ceased to be, as really and truly as the light of a 
lamp ceases to be when its flame is extinguished. He is therefore 

% 2 


in no sense an object of personal trust or confidence ; the affections 
cannot be placed upon him ; his guidance cannot be sought, nor his 
sympathy received ; and when his name is invoked, it is under the 
supposition that by some latent process, which cannot be explained, 
the prayer addressed to him will be answered, without the interven- 
tion of an intelligent cause. This will be more clearly seen when 
it is remembered that in the threefold protective formulary called 
the tun-sarana, Budha is placed in exactly the same position 
as his doctrines and the associated priesthood. The second class of 
this series can in no wise be intelligent, nor can we conceive of the 
third as exercising an influence apart from the members of which it 
is composed. Yet this is the only reufge of the Budhist ; a being 
annihilated ; a law non -intelligent, and an idea non-existent, a 
mere abstraction. 

The doctrines of Budha relative to the individual man partake of 
the same character of withering scepticism. There is no such thing 
as an immortal soul. Every being, until nirwana, or extinction^ 
is attained, necessarily produces another being, unto whom are 
transferred all the merit and demerit that have been accumulated 
during an unknown period by an almost endless succession of 
similar beings, all distinct from each other, never contemporaneous, 
but all bound by this singular law of production to every individual 
in the preceding link of the chain, so as to be liable to suffer for 
their crimes or be rewarded for their virtues. Yet though the 
effects of karma are infallible as to the consequences they produce, 
they are by no means certain as to the period or person upon whom 
they fall. A man may be the inheritor of the foulest crimes, com- 
mitted during the three or four generations of being immediately 
preceding ; and yet on accovmt of some virtue performed by the 
being preceding him in the fifth generation, he may live in happi- 
ness, without a cloud to darken his prosperity during any part of 
his present existence, and may leave the consequences of these 
crimes, and his own added to them, to be endured in all their bit- 
terness by the being he himself will produce, or by some more dis- 
tant being in the same series. We think that no one can deny 
these inferences who has had the opportunity of studying the 
system, although it must be confessed that the popular notion upon 
the subject approaches rather to transmigration, as that idea is 
usually received. 

With these errors at the foundation of the system, no purity in 
its moral code can be of much avail; but as the subject is one of 


great importance, we will pursue it a little further, and briefly exa- 
mine that part of Budhism which is supposed to constitute its 
greatest excellence. It is evident at once that the denial of an in- 
telligent conservator of the universe shuts out the possibility of 
the existence of one great class of virtues, and these the noblest 
that arise in the human breast. Other virtues are by the same 
means entirely changed in their character, though the name may be 
retained. As an instance, we may notice submission ; in the be- 
liever, a confession of the righteousness of the dispensations ap- 
pointed by the Supreme Being, even in the utmost extremity of 
human agony, with an acquiescence in their infliction ; but in the 
sceptic, mere stoicism, a sullen endurance of that which cannot be 
prevented. Again, obedience in these two different persons must 
be an act essentially dissimilar in all its aspects. In the one case, 
the law is considered as paramount in its claims, from the supremacy 
of the Being by whom it is promulgated ; in the other, there can 
properly be no law, and the transgression of what is so called is 
merely an error or inconvenience, not accompanied by guilt. Hence 
there can be no right sense of " the exceeding sinfulness of sin," 
nor any true contrition. Yet we have taken law under its lowest 
character ; and have not considered that the law of revelation is 
not only promulgated by a Being supremely great, but by One who 
is also infinitely just and good, and to whom man in particular is 
laid under unceasing obligations for the reception of countless 

It is not the name alone that is to be regarded, but the interpre- 
tation that is put upon the several terms. For instance, ahnsgiving 
in itself is a most excellent virtue, but by the Budhists it has been 
converted into a mercenary act, and its purpose has been entirely 
vitiated; inasmuch as its obligation and rewardableness rise in mag- 
nitude, not'jwith the wretchedness of the person to whom the gift 
is imparted, but with the elevation of the recipient individual in the 
scale of Budhistical excellence. Why should the destitute be suc- 
coured, when they are only reaping the reward of their crimes, and 
any aid granted to them would only be like sowing seed upon the 
rock ? 
\ Whatever man is, he has made himself, according to Budhism, 
' by his own unaided energy ; he is the maker of his own fortune ; 
he is indebted to no one for his present position. All that he now 
enjoys is the result of merit he has acquired in previous ages and 


births. But in the prosperous man this idea must necessarily lead 
to pride, of a kind that cannot possibly be entertained by a believer 
in an intelligent Supreme Cause; and in the unfortunate man it 
must lead to despair, as he sees that he has no resource in himself, 
and that it is in vain to look for it elsewhere. 

It will be said, perhaps, that there are the moral precepts, almost 
word for word the same as those of the decalogue, and that here, at 
least, Budhism is to be regarded in a more favourable light. To this 
we again reply, that it is not the simple command that is to be 
taken ; but the interpretation that is put upon it by authorised ex- 

The first of the dasa-sil, or ten ordinances binding upon the priest, 
prohibits the taking of life. As all life is homogeneous, we should 
infer that it must be an equal crime to kill an animal as to kill a 
man ; but the proportion of the offence rises according to the merit 
of the being whose life is taken. Now we shall ever find that in all 
cases similar to this, where the equipoise of truth is lost, and a law 
is carried beyond its right limit, consequences are produced the very 
reverse of what was intended. Thus, when the life of a man and 
that of an animal are in any way regarded as of similar value, it will 
not occur that the animal is raised from its natural level to be equal 
with the man, but that the man will be depressed from his real dig- 
nity to an equality with the brute. In all countries where these 
sentiments are prevalent, there is great recklessness relative to 
human life ; and if it were not that they are usually accompanied 
by a timidity with regard to personal suffering, consequences the 
most deplorable would be the result of this law, which at first may 
appear to be more excellent than the simple prohibition of murder. 
It will be seen, by even a slight attention to this subject, that when 
the existence of a Supreme Deity is denied, and the doctrine of 
transmigration is believed, scarcely one of the common arguments 
against murder is of any power. 

The third of the dasa-sil entirely forbids all sexual intercourse ; 
but this precept does not apply to the householder, he being only 
prohibited from approaching the woman who is the property of 
another, which includes married women and wards. In the case of 
the priest, there is the same unnatural strictness that we have no- 
ticed relative to the taking of life ; but in the application of the 
precept to the great mass there is a lamentable defectiveness in its 
requirements. As among the Greeks and Romans, it is not the act 



that is in itself a crime ; its criminality arises from the injury it 
does to another person's property. The injury that the woman 
herself sustains appears to be regarded as nothing, unless she have 
a protector. Budha was married, and had a son born on the day 
he left his family and became an ascetic ; but besides the princess 
Yasodhara-dewi he had many thousands of concubines, according 
to the exaggerated legends of his life ; and his father, Sudhodana, 
king of Kapila-wastu or Kimbulwat-pura, was married to two sisters 
at the same time, this being a common custom of the Sakya race 
from its commencement. The practices of the courtezan did not 
incapacitate her from receiving the highest privileges held out by 
Budha to his followers, nor did he require, in order to their recep- 
tion, a previous course of penitence ; indeed these practices are, in 
some Instances, regarded as meritorious. 

The other precepts are all, in a similar manner, either of too rigid 
a character to secure the possibility of observance ; or are so loose 
in their requirem.ents, as defined in other parts of the system, that 
they are deprived in a great measure of the claim they would other- 
wise have upon our regard. They all, in a greater or less degree, 
bear evidence of the earthliness of their origin, and are rather an 
ineffectual attempt to teach men the way of rectitude than a perfect 


Another defect in Budhism is its principle of selfishness, whilst at 
the same time it has the appearance of great benevolence. The 
ascetic is taught to exercise this wish, " May all the superior beings 
in the universe be happy ; may they all be free from sorrow, disease 
and evil desire ; may all men, whether they be priests or laics, all 
the dewas and brahmas, all who are suffering the pains of the hells, 
be happy; may they all be free from sorrow, disease, and evil 
desire !" A wish most enlarged and benevolent ; but not an eff'ort 
is the ascetic required to make towards its accomplishment. There 
are many beautiful sentiments, set forth with a child's simplicity, 
yet full of the most touching poetry, by which the excellence of 
equanimity is taught; but when taken in connexion with other 
parts of the system, with which they must necessarily be conjoined, 
it will be seen that they are either mere verbiage, or that the prin- 
ciples they inculcate are little more than indifference to all things, 
the good as well as the evil, whatever may be the meaning of a few 
sentences detached from the more essential doctrines. 

It is the aim of Budhism to overcome all emotions, all prefer- 


ences, all that would disturb the quiet repose of the mind. It seeks 
to destroy the passions, not to regulate them. But however im- 
perfect it may be as a system, when comjiared with other religions 
it will be seen that there are parts of it entitled even to praise. We 
think that much caution is required as to the terms in which Chris- 
tians speak of it, especially when conversing with the natives by 
whom it is professed. When we say to a Budhist, in just so many 
words, " Your religion is false ; " his mind, if he be a man of any 
thought or information, will instantly reflect thus : — " How can that 
be, when there are so many things in it exactly the same as in the 
Bible ? Does not my religion also teach me not to steal, or to lie, 
or to commit murder ? If my religion be false, Christianity must be 
false as well." We must therefore carefully explain to him that 
there are certain principles common to all religions, in a greater or 
tless degree, without which they would not be received as such by 
mankind ; but that only one of these religions can have been 
taught by an all- wise Being. This one religion is to be received 
by all, implicitly, in its entirety ; and other religions can only be 
so far true as they approach towards this standard. When, there- 
fore, we say that Budhism is a false religion, we do not mean to say 
that every part of it is equally false, but that it is not divinely in- 
spired ; it was formed by a man or men, who were liable to err, and 
have erred, in innumerable instances ; consequently it cannot teach 
the way of purity or peace, or save from wrath and destruction. 

The doctrines of Budhism are not alone in the beauty of many of 
their sentiments, and the excellence of much of their morality. 
" It is not permitted to you to render evil for evil," was one of the 
sentiments of Socrates. One of the triads of Druidism was to this 
effect : — " The three primary principles of religion are. Obedience 
to the laws of God, concern for the welfare of mankind, suffering 
with fortitude all the accidents of life." Confucius taught that 
men should " treat others according to the treatment which they 
themselves would desire at their hands." Similar extracts might 
be multiplied to an indefinite extent ; but it may suffice to repeat 
the caution, though it be well known, made by Sir William Jones, 
in 1794, in the Eleventh Discourse delivered before the Asiatic 
Society, " On the Philosophy of the Asiatics." — " If the conversion 
of the Pandits and Maulavis in this country shall ever be attempted 
by Protestant missionaries, they must beware of asserting, while 
they teach the gospel of truth, what those Pandits and Maulavis 


would know to be false : the former would cite that beautiful Arya 
couplet, which was written at least three centuries before our era, 
and which pronounces the duty of a good man, even in the moment 
of his destruction, to consist not only in forgiving, but even in a 
desire of benefiting his destroyer, as the sandal tree, in the instant 
of its overthrow, sheds perfume on the axe which fells it ; and the 
latter would triumph in repeating the verse of Sadi, who repre- 
sents ' a return of good for good' as a slight reciprocity, but says to 
the virtuous man, ' confer benefits on him who has injured thee;' 
using an Arabic sentence, and a maxim apparently of the ancient 
Arabs. Nor would the Mussulmans fail to recite four distichs of 
Hafiz, who has illustrated that maxim with fanciful but elegant 
allusions : — 

' Learn from yon orient shell to love thy foe, 
And store with pearls the hand that brings thee woe : 
Free, like yon rock, from base vindictive pride, 
Imblaze with gems the wrist that tears thy side : 
Mark, where yon tree rewards the stony show'r 
AVith fruit nectareous, or the balmy flow'r : 
All nature calls aloud ; Shall man do less, 
Than heal the smiter, and the railer bless ?' " 

We only stop for a moment to notice the expression, " If the con- 
version of the Pandits and Maulavis shall ever he attempted by 
Protestant missionaries !'' It strikes upon the ear like a sound all 
strange ; but what an interesting comment might be made on the 
events that have taken place since it was written ! 

It would have been well if Budhism, in aiming at too much, had 
gone to the furthest limit of possible good ; but that this has been 
accomplished no one can assert. Its inherent defects have pre- 
vented it from reaching the end it has seen in the distance, but has 
never been able to approach. How could it be otherwise, when 
man is left to his own unaided efforts in the great work of freeing 
himself from the defilement of evil ! It is like the throwing of a 
pebble into the Ganges to arrest its mighty stream. The Budhist 
knows nothing of an atonement ; he reels under the weight of his 
sin, but he cannot rid himself of the burden. The voice that pro- 
mises him rest is only a sound ; it has no living existence, no sub- 
stantiality. In the wilderness to which he is driven no cross does 
he see, no river of blood, no fountain of life with the cheering words 
inscribed upon the rock that overhangs it, " Whosoever will, let 


bim come, and drink freely, and live ! " He hears of salvation, but 
he discovers no Saviour. Thus mocked with delusive promises, his 
disappointment is severe ; the best affections of his heart are de- 
stroyed ; and if he still pursues the system, he is converted into a 
harmless being, silent, and full of abstract thought that seeks its 
own annihilation, so that even of thought there may be none. 


It has long been known that monachism was rife in the east, 
some ages previous to its adoption in Europe ; but the history of 
its origin was involved in the same obscurity as the source of the 
mighty streams upon the banks of which the first ascetics com- 
menced the practice of their austerities. By some of the fathers it 
Avas thought that its most intense manifestation was peculiar to 
Christianity. " Who is there," asks Athanasius, " but our Lord 
and Saviour Christ that has not deemed this virtue (of virginity) to 
be utterly impracticable (or unattainable) among men ; and yet he 
has so shown his divine power as to impel youths, as yet under age, 
to profess it, a virtue beyond law ? " " None of the ancients, none 
before the time of Christ," says Chrysostom, " were able to addict 
themselves to the ascetic practice of virginity." * But that these 
sentiments were utterly incorrect is abundantly proved by the facts 
recorded upon the preceding pages ; unless the fathers intended 
simj)ly to assert that the pretensions of the barbarians to purity 
were vain and unfounded. 

It is not in my power to pass the veil that shrouds from observa- 
tion the origin we wish to trace ; but we are able, now, to make 
nearer approaches towards it than were possible before the history 
of Budhism was known. That Gotama Budha effected a great 
change in the social polity and religious institutions of the inhabi- 
tants of India cannot be denied ; but how much of the system that 
bears his name was originally propounded by himself, or how much 
of that which he really propounded was the product of his own 
unaided intellect, will remain an unanswered problem to the end of 
time. It is maintained by the Budhists that he was entirely 
uvTodidaKTog. The wisdom that he manifested was the outbeaming 

* Taylor's Ancient Christianity. 


of a self- enkindled flame, not an inspiration from any exterior 
source ; nor was it the result of any process of thought or reason. 
To whatever object he directed his intellectual vision, w^hether 
it werei" near or remote, whether past, present, or future, he saw it 
in a moment, intuitively, and yet in a manner the most absolutely 
perfect.* Though the sramanas believe that there has been, and ever 
will be, an endless succession of Budhas, they maintain that pre- 
vious to the manifestation of a Budha, all knowledge of the former 
Budhas, and of the doctrines they taught, is entirely lost, and that 
all we now know of the Budhas previous to Gotama has been dis- 
covered by the intuition of the sage and that of his disciples. By 
these unwarranted assumptions a mystery has been thrown around 
the real character of Gotama, which defeats the aim of the historian 
who would examine it by the panons of truth. 

At the very onset of our researches, we meet with difiiculties of 
the most formidable description, as there is little co-eval light from 
any other source than the sacred books of the Budhists ; and these 
records abound so much with absurdities, that in many instances it 
w'ould require the powers of a rahat to separate the true from the 
false. We may, however, collect from these venerated documents 
that there were both recluses and societies, communities, or schools, 
previous to the age of Gotama. But the recluses were not in com- 
munities, nor did the communities practise the austerities of the 
recluse. The originality of Gotama's system of discipline appears 
to have consisted in the more perfect combination of the tw^o classes 
into one order, so that in this respect he rather resembled the Pa- 
' chomius than the Anthony of the west. In the legends of the Bud- 
hists there are numerous allusions to other societies, consisting of 

* " The omniscience of Budha is not the knowledge of all things, but the 
power of knowing whatever he wishes to know. In opposition to other 
teachers, who deduce their doctrines from certain previously assiuned princi- 
ples, and who may err cither in the data, or in the deductions from them, 
Budha afhrms of himself that the complete field of truth is before him, that the 
eye of wisdom to perceive it was obtained by liim when he became a Bndha ; 
and whatever he desires to know he perceives perfectly, and at one glance, 
without any reasoning process." — Rev. D. J. Gogerly, Ceylon Friend. The 
following extract is from P. Molinaeus de Cognit. Dei, quoted by Howe, Bless, 
llight. cap. 6. " A man, conveniently placed m some eminent station, may 
possibly see, at one view, all the successive parts of a gliding stream ; but he 
that sits by the water's side, not changing his place, sees the same parts, only 
because they succeed ; and those that pass, make way for them that follow, 
to come under his eye : so doth a learned man describe the unsuccessive 
knowledge of God." I have some recollection of having seen a similar 
figiue applied to the knowledge of Budha, but cannot at present refer to the 


men and women who were leagued together for some common pur- 
pose ; but in those instances in which religion is concerned there 
apjaears to be little more than the usual bond between the master 
and his disciple ; and whenever we see evidences of a closer union 
the character of the association appears to be collegiate and not 
coenobite, philosophical and not religious. The tirttakas were the 
most formidable rivals of Gotama ; but we are not sufficiently- 
acquainted with the facts of their history to decide in what degree 
their discipline approached to the regularity of a monastic order. 

Further researches may cause these conclusions to be modified. 
But if it be so, if it be proved that there Avere other monastic orders 
in existence, and that Gotama was not the institutor of the system, 
it Avill place in a more striking view the greatness of his genius, in 
having established an order that has long survived all contempo- 
raneous systems ; and that now, more than two thousand years 
after its promulgation, excercises a potent influence over many 
millions of the human race, in regions at a considerable distance 
from the source of its dissemination. No philosopher of Greece 
was able to secure for his sect so decided a pre-eminence ; and 
although in an age of darkness Aristotle maintained a paramount 
sway in the halls of the schoolmen, it was only as an instrumen- 
tality by which mistaken men hoped to illustrate more clearly the 
system that had emanated from Israel. 

The practice of austerities is so interwoven with Brahmanism, 
under all the phases it has assumed, that we cannot realise its ex- 
istence apart from the principles of the ascetic. At an early period 
of the present era of manifestation, Dhruva, the son of Uttanapada, 
the son of Menu Swayambhuva, who was " born of, and one with, 
Brahma," began to perform penance, as enjoined by the sages, on the 
banks of the Yamuna. " Whilst his mind was wholly absorbed in 
meditation, the mighty Hari, identical with all natures (took pos- 
session of his heart). Vishnu being thus present in his mind, the 
earth, the supporter of elemental life, could not sustain the weight 
of the ascetic. As he stood upon his left foot, one hemisphere bent 
beneath him ; and when he stood upon his right, the other half of 
the earth sank down. When he touched the earth with his toes, 
it shook with all its mountains, and the rivers and the seas were 
troubled, and the gods partook of the universal agitation. 

" The celestials called Yamas, being excessively alarmed, then 


took counsel with Indra how they should interrupt the devout exer- 
cises of Dhruva ; and the divine beings termed Kushmandas, in 
company with their king, commenced anxious efforts to distract his 
meditations. One, assuming the semblance of his 'mother Suniti, 
stood weeping before him, and calling in tender accents, ' My son, 
my son, desist from destroying thy strength by this fearful penance. 
I have gained thee, my son, after much anxious hope ; thou canst 
not have the cruelty to quit me, helpless, alone, and unprotected, 
on account of the unkindness of my rival. Thou art my only re- 
fuge ; I have no hope but thou. What hast thou, a child but five 
years old, to do with rigorous penance ? Desist from such fearful 
practices, that yield no beneficial fruit. First comes the season of 
youthful pastime ; and when that is over, it is the time for study ; 
then succeeds the period of worldly enjoyments ; and lastly, that 
of austere devotion. This is thy season of pastime, my child. 
Hast thou engaged in these practices to ptit an end to existence? 
Thy chief duty is love for me : duties are according to time of life. 
Lose not thyself in bewildering error; desist from such unrighteous 
actions. If not, if thou wilt not desist from these austerities, I 
will terminate my life before thee.' 

" But Dhruva, being wholly intent on seeing Vishnu, beheld not 
his mother weeping in his presence, and calling upon him ; and the 
illusion, crying out, ' Fly, fly, my child, the hideous spirits of ill are 
crowding into this dreadful forest with uplifted weapons,' quickly 
disappeared. Then advanced frightful rakshasas, wielding terrible 
arms, and with countenances emitting fiery flame ; and nocturnal 
fiends thronged around the prince, uttering fearful noises, and whirl- 
ing and tossing their threatening weapons. Hundreds of jackals, 
from whose mouths gushed flame, as they devoured their prey, were 
howling around, to appal the boy, vv-holly engrossed by meditation. 
The goblins called out, ' Kill him, kill him ; cut him to pieces ; eat 
him, eat him ; ' and monsters with the faces of camels and croco- 
diles and lions, roared and yelled with horrible cries, to terrify the 
prince. But all these imcouth speeches, appalling cries, and threat- 
ening weapons, made no impression upon his senses, whose mind 
was completely intent on Govinda. The son of the monarch of the 
earth, engrossed by one only idea, beheld uninterruptedly Vishnu 
seated in his soul, and saw no other object.*- 

* This narrative would suit the history of almost any recluse, in any age. 
If, apart from the influence of the cross, all men are ever to be made one, it 
must be by asceticism, as no other principle or prejudice can at all compete 
■with it in its powers of assimilation. 


" All their delusive stratagems being thus foiled, the gods were 
more perplexed than ever. Alarmed at their discomfiture, and 
afflicted by the devotions of the boy, they assembled and repaired 
for succour to Hari, the origin of the world, who is without be- 
ginning or end ; and thus addressed him : ' God of gods, sovereign 
of the world, god supreme, and infinite spirit, distressed by the aus- 
terities of Dhruva, we have come to thee for protection. As the 
moon increases in his orb day by day, so this youth advances inces- 
santly towards superhuman power by his devotions. Terrified by 
the ascetic practices of the son of Uttanapada, we have come to thee 
for succour. Do thou allay the fervour of his meditations. We 
know not to what station he aspires : to the throne of Indra, the 
regency of the solar or lunar sphere, or to the sovereignty of riches 
or of the deep. Have compassion on us, Lord ; remove this afflic- 
tion from our breasts ; divert the son of Uttanapada from persever- 
ing in his penance.' Vishnu replied to the gods : ' The lad de- 
sireth neither the rank of Indra, nor the solar orb, nor the sove- 
reignty of wealth, or of the ocean : all that he solicits I will grant. 
Return, therefore, deities, to your mansions as ye list, and be no 
more alarmed : I will put an end to the penance of the boy, whose 
mind is immersed in deep contemplation.' 

" The gods, being thus pacified by the supreme, saluted him res- 
pectfully and retired, and, preceded by Ihdra, returned to their 
habitations : but Hari, who is all things, assuming a shape with 
four arms, proceeded to Dhruva, being pleased with his identity of 
nature, and thus addressed him : ' Son of Uttanapada, be pros- 
perous. Contented Avith thy devotions, I, the giver of boons, am 
present. Demand what boon thou desirest. In that thou hast 
wholly disregarded external objects, and fixed thy thoughts on me, 
I am well pleased with thee. Ask, therefore, a suitable reward.' 
The boy, hearing these words of the god of gods, opened his eyes, 
and beholding that Hari whom, he had before seen in his medita- 
tions, actually in his presence, bearing in his hands the shell, the 
discus, the mace, ' the bow, and scimetar, and crowned with a 
diadem, he bowed his head down to earth ; the hair stood erect on 
his brow, and his heart was depressed with awe. He reflected how 
best he should offer thanks to the god of gods ; what he could say 
in his adoration ; what words weve capable of expressing his praise: 
and being overwhelmed with perplexity, he had recourse for con- 
solation to the deity. ' If,' he exclaims, ' the lord is contented with 


my devotions, let this be my reward, that I may know how to praise 
him as I wish. How can I, a child, pronounce his praises, whose 
abode is unknown to Brahma and to others learned in the Vedas ? 
My heart is overflowing with devotion to thee ; oh, lord, grant me 
the faculty worthily to lay mine adorations at thy feet.' " 

From this narrative we learn that the practice of asceticism is 
supposed by the Brahmans to have commenced at a very early pe- 
riod ; and that it leads to the possession of an energy the most 
mighty. The Hindu ascetics of more recent times are in many in- 
stances those who have fulfilled their supposed destiny as men, and 
then retire into the wilderness, that instead of assuming another 
form at their death they may be prepared for re-absorption in the 
supreme essence. In abstaining from animal food the Brahmans 
are stricter than the Budhists ; but the followers of Gotama never 
knowingly take life, and therefore regard the pasuyajna or aswa- 
medha, a sacrifice supposed by the Brahmans to be highly effica- 
cious, with great abhorrence. 

The principal allusions to India that are found in the fathers of 
the church have been collected by Cave, in his Life of Panttenus, 
catechist of Alexandria, who was sent to these regions as a mis- 
sionary, about the end of the second century. " Having arrived in 
India he set himself to plant the Christian faith in those parts, espe- 
cially conversing with the Brachmans, the sages and philosophers 
of those countries, whose principles and way of life seemed more 
immediately to dispose them for the entertainment of Christianity. 
Their children as soon as born they committed to nurses ; and then 
to guardians, according to their different ages, Avho instructed them 
in principles according to their capacity and improvement ; they 
w^ere educated with all imaginable severity of discipline, not suffered 
so much as to speak, or spit, or cough, w^hile their masters were 
discoursing to them, and this till they were seven and thirty years 
of age. They were infinitely strict and abstemious in their diet, 
eat no flesh, drunk no wine or strong drink ; feeding only upon 
wild acorns, and such roots as nature furnished them withal, and 
quenching their thirst at the next spring or river ; and as sparing 
of all other pleasures and delights. They adored no images, but 
sincerely worshipped God, to whom they continually prayed : and 
instead of the custom of those eastern nations of turning to the 
east,' they devoutly lift up their eyes to heaven ; and while they 
drew near to God took a particular care to keep themselves from 


being defiled with any vice or wickedness, spending a great part of 
both night and day in hymns and prayers to God. They accounted 
themselves the most free and virtuous people, having hardened their 
bodies against all external accidents, and subdued in their minds all 
irregular passions and desires. Gold and silver they despised, as 
that which could neither quench their thirst nor allay their hunger, 
nor heal their wounds, nor cure their distempers, nor serve any 
real or necessary ends of nature ; but only minister to vice and 
luxury, to trouble and inquietude, and set the mind upon racks and 
tenters. They looked upon none of the accidents of this world to 
be either good or evil ; frequently discoursed concerning death, 
which they defined to be, a being born into a real and happy life. 
In short, they appeared in most things to conspire and agree with 
the stoics, whom therefore they esteemed of all sects to be the most 
excellent philosophers." * The ancients who wrote of India seldom 
made a proper distinction between the Brahmans and Budhists. 
Of the above description, some parts will apply to the former class, 
and others to the latter. Too high a character is here given of the 
religious life of the Hindus, but their customs would appear pro- 
foundly impressive to a Christian who had imbibed the ascetic 
principles that were even then in existence ; and when it is remem- 
bered that Pantsenus was the preceptor of Clemens Alexandrinus, 
and taught in the school at Alexandria after his mission to the east, 
it will be seen that his visit to India may have produced a greater 
influence upon the church than has yet been given to it by the his- 
torians who have written of that period. 

In the extensive regions between India and Syria, where stood 
the mighty cities of Nineveh and Babylon, and along which the 
tide of conquest was rolled by Dionysus, Osiris, and Sesostris, the 
traces of asceticism are few. It might be said that the people were 
too strong in their attachment to pleasure, and had too many of its 
appliances within their reach, to be readily induced to abandon the 
world ; were it not that an excess of luxury frequently generates 
the ascetic element, by the principle of antagonism that manifests 
itself in the working of all human institutions. 

* Cave's Lives of the most Eminent Fathers of the Church. His authori- 
ties are : — De Brachman. Morib. et instit. vicl. inter alios Alexand. Polyb. de 
Reb. Lidic. ap. Clem. Alex. Stromal. 1. iii. c. 7. Strab. Geogr, 1. xv. p. 1038. 
Bardesan. Syr. 1. de fat. ap. Euseb, Pra>p. Evang. 1. vi. c. 10. Plutarch de 
vit. Alexand. Porphyr. Trep. cnroKrjg. 1. iv. s. 17, 18. Pallad. deBragman. 
Tract, de Orig. et Morib. Brachman. inter Ambrosii oper. ad Calc. Suid. in 
voc. BpaxfJ^ctvEQ. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 1. v. c. 10. Hier de Script, in Pantsen. 


It has been noticed, relative to the Greeks, that " the century 
between 650 and 500 b. c. appears to have been remarkable for the 
first diffusion and potent influence of distinct religious brotherhoods, 
mystic rites, and expiatory ceremonies, none of which find any re- 
cognition in the Homeric epic." * This was precisely the age of 
Gotaina ; and the coincidence is striking. The Greeks were as free 
from the ascetic element as any people we can name, but even 
among them there was one nation that was apart from the rest ; 
and if we examine the causes of its idiosyncracy we shall see that 
they arose from the more powerful development of this principle. 
It is said that Lycurgus, in his wanderings, penetrated as far as 
India ; and we can discover many points of resemblance between 
the precepts promulgated by Gotama and the law^s of the Spartans. 
The submission of the young was strictly enforced in the code of 
the Spartan legislator, and great respect was paid to the aged ; 
there was a community of property ; nearly all distinctions of rank 
were abolished ; the education, dress, and food of all classes were 
the same ; the diet was of the simplest kind ; the use of gold and 
silver was forbidden ; ointments were not allowed ; only one gar- 
ment was used ; the beds were of reeds, from the banks of the 
Eurotas ; all were taught to endure the greatest hardships unmoved ; 
theatrical exhibitions were discountenanced ; commerce was prohi- 
bited, and even agriculture ; and there was a public mess. The 
young were set free from the I'estrictions under which they had 
previously laboured when twenty years old, the same age at which 
the samanera novice was admitted to ordination. But the Spartan 
annihilated self that he might become a patriot ; the Budhist 
ascetic, that he might become non-existent. 

The Orphic brotherhood tasted no animal food but the flesh of 
the consecrated ox, and wore white linen garments. The Orpheo- 
tolists used to come before the doors of the rich, and promise to re- 
lease them from sin ; but it was by songs and sacrifices. The 
Pythagoreans had a community of goods ; they took their meals in 
common, and were strictly temperate ; they forbore the use of 
sumptuous garments, and restrained anger, maintained a constant 
serenity, and cultivated powers of endurence. As neither Pytha- 
goras nor Lycurgus committed his laws to writing (another resem- 
blance to Gotama), their history is involved in too deep an obscurity 
to allow of much reliance being placed upon any exhibition of their 

* Grote's History of Greece, iii. 114. 

A A 


character ; yet there is a unity about our accounts of the institutions 
bearing their name that pleads for their consistence with truth, 
either as the result of previous influences upon the individual or as 
produced by the gradual development of events. The Cpiics, when 
in the strictness of their first severity, appear to have more nearly 
resembled the ascetics of the east. Antisthenes Avore only a coarse 
cloak, full of holes ; he carried a wallet ; and confined himself to 
the simplest diet. The expression, " I had rather be mad than sen- 
sual," would not be out of place in the mind of a Budhist ; but the 
snarling propensities that won for him the name of " The Dog ' 
would have been entirely discountenanced by Gotama. The pro- 
perty of Diogenes consisted in a cloak, a wallet, and a staff; he ate 
his meals in public, and slept in his famous tub or the porticos of 
public buildings. He too sought to annihilate the body, but the 
means he took for this purpose were not such as Budhism approves, 
nor would this system hold in any estimation whatever a man who 
revelled in filth and practised indecencies. 

The vow of the Nazarite was the only ascetic custom of which we 
have any notice in the sacred Scriptures, as existing among the 
children of Israel ; and, as in the case of blood-revenge, the regula- 
tions given by Moses may have been intended rather to restrain the 
pernicious effects of a custom already established, than to introduce 
a new principle among the people of God. It was a sacrifice of the 
whole man, body and mind, to the Lord ; and as the procreation 
of children appeared to the Israelites to be a duty, and not a degra- 
dation, there was no inconsistency in the mother of Sampson be- 
coming a Nazarite that she might have a son. The Rechabites, 
who are called by Jerome " patres monachorum," refrained from 
wine and the erection of substantial dwellings, but the aim of their 
observances appears simply to have been, to maintain their nation- 
ality and independence. 

The first order of recluses, for the knowledge of whose practices 
we have to go exclusively to the records of extra-Indian literature, 
is that of the Essenes. The Pharisees were more nearly allied to 
the Brahmans of India, whilst the Sadducees partook of the scepti- 
cism of the Budhists, and the Essenes of their asceticism. The 
Essenes gave themselves up to a contemplative mode of life, 
avoided the ordinary pleasures of existence, and repudiated mar- 
riage ; they despised riches, and had one common fund ; com- 
merce was avoided ; they took their meals in common, each person 


having a loaf of bread set before him, with a single plate of one 
kind of food, and they drank only water ; their garments were not 
renewed until worn out ; they abstained from conversation on or- 
dinary topics, endeavoured to maintain a perfect tranquillity of 
mind upon all occasions, and were unmoved amidst the most cruel 
tortures ; a noviciate of three years was required before any one 
could enter into the order, after which they took an oath that they 
would obey the commands of the elders, and conceal nothing from 
the community ; they had villages of their own, or when in cities 
lived apart from the rest of mankind ; and they rejected sacrifices, 
offering only gifts or self-consecration at the temple. Like other 
communities of a similar kind, they were frequently joined by those 
who were suffering from remorse of conscience, by those who were 
disgusted with the vanities of the world, and by the aged. Near 
Alexandria, on the shores of lake Moeris, resided an order of recluses 
called Therapeutae, who are supposed to have been a branch of the 
Essenes ; but this opinion is controverted. They were shut up in 
separate cells, lived on bread and water, and ate only in the 

The earlier heretics, in many instances, distinguished themselves 
by the course of self-denial they enjoined upon their disciples. Of 
this kind were Saturninus, Marcion, Bardisanes, Tatian, Severus, 
Manichaeus, and Hierax. The folloAvers of these misguided men 
macerated their bodies by repeated austerities, and shunned every 
kind of indulgence with rigid pertinacity. They denounced wed- 
lock, as being a great hindrance to the Christian principle ; and 
held abstinence and meditation in high esteem. The followers of 
Tatian substituted water for wine in the administration of the 
eucharist. They were called encratitae, the temperate, and hydro- 
parastatae and acquarii, water-offerers. It was supposed by Severus 
that wine and women were produced by the evil principle, as they 
are the cause of the chief miseries of man. The Marcionites 
admitted none to baptism who were married, and none to the 
eucharist who did not renounce wedlock. On the other hand, 
Elxai despised continence, and obliged his followers to marry. The 
Ebionites, who were supposed to be so called from their poverty, 
with some other of the heretical sects enumerated above, held that 
it was wrong to possess anything beyond that Avhich is absolutely 
necessary for daily subsistence, as the present world, in its very 
nature, apart from its abuse, is the exclusive possession of Satan, 

A A 2 


and therefore all communion with it must be more or less connected 
with sin. 

But, although the principal ascetics of heathendom and heresy 
have now passed under our review, all their mortifications and ab- 
stractions appear to be feeble and effete, when compared with the 
manifestations of the same principle that are seen among the 
myriads of India. The system towered to the loftiest height in the 
place of its birth ; and it was here that it assumed the most formi- 
dable majesty and exercised the most extended influence. 

There is in all men a yearning after something that is beyond the 
limits of the visible world ; and although this feeling may too 
generally be overpowered by the pressure of toil and the strife of 
passion, there are times when the solemn thought will present itself 
that a higher destiny is intended for man than that which he now 
inherits. By some minds, a divinity is communicated to the sim- 
plest objects of creation ; and a pebble, a flower, a cloud, or a rill, 
becomes an instrument of music from which are sent forth strains 
of sweet harmony or lofty measure : this type of mind forms the 
poet. In other minds there is dissatisfaction with the common 
affairs of life, a moodiness which scowls at all that is connected 
with refinement and luxury, and would turn away from the sight 
of the brightest gem that ever adorned a coronet to contemplate the 
lack-lustre sockets of a skull : this type forms the recluse. By 
other minds the attention is directed to voices unheard by the busy 
multitude ; they realise the objective presence of some superior in- 
telligence, to whose influence they implicitly resign themselves, or 
they lose their own consciousness in the mute contemplation of its 
more glorious attributes : this type forms the mystic. And there 
are other minds that seek only to dive into the mysteries of the 
future, or to gain possession of miraculous energies, either by an 
increase of their own inherent powers or by allying themselves with 
the spirits of other spheres : this type forms the soothsayer and 
the magician. 

All these types of mind are united in the recluse of India ; but he 
has thoughts and sympathies that are peculiar to his own order. 
When he would become a poet, he makes his pebble into a moun- 
tain and his rill into a sea ; when a recluse, he rejects not only the 
pleasures of earth, but the enjoyments of heaven ; when a mystic, 
he would lose his very being, as well as his consciousness ; and 


wlicn a soothsayer or a magician, he invokes not the aid of other 
intelligences, as he can stretch forth his hand and the universe be- 
comes plastic to his touch, and he can summons eternity to present 
itself to his vision. Though the thoughts he loves best to cherish 
are vast even to utter extravagance, he allows not the tranquillity 
of his mind to be ruffled by their presence ; in its inner depths his 
sjjirit is still placid ; thus resembling rather the thick-ribbed ice of 
the lake, which the rock that has toppled from the summit of the 
overhanging mountain cannot move, than its limped water that the 
gentlest breeze wdll ripple. Hence, when he would assume to him- 
self a supernatural power, he utters no spell; he seeks no voice of 
incantation ; he asks for no mystic strain from the minstrel's harp. 
A clod of earth or a basin of water, and deep silence, are all that 
he requires to enable him to work the mightiest miracles. Even 
these simple signs can be dispensed with, when he proceeds to the 
higher stages of the exercise. In the twenty-second chapter of the 
Vishnu Parana we have a representation of one mode of dhyana, 
in which the conception of a thing is attemjjted to be rendered 
more definite by thinking upon its types ; or in which, at least, the 
thoughts are more readily concentrated by being addressed to a 
sensible emblem instead of an abstract truth. Thus the yogi says 
to himself, " I meditate upon the jewel on Vishnu's brow, as the 
soul of the world ; upon the gem on his breast, as the first prin- 
ciple of all things," and so on : and thus through a perceptible 
substance proceeds to an imperceptible idea.* But the rahat only 
needs the emblem in the preparatory rite ; when once he has re- 
ceived an inner evidence that the power he seeks is gained, he can 
ever afterwards exercise it by an act of volition, without any super- 
numerary aid. 

The entrance of the spirit of asceticism into the Christian church 
was aflfected at an early period. Its progress was at first slow. 
Those who have seen the approach of the lion know well that every 
limb of the animal's body, and almost every hair, seems to be in- 
stinct with a separate life, the object of which is, to deprive its 
advance of all appearance of motion ; and then there is the bound, 
the seizure, and the conquest absolute. Thus stealthy, and thus 
fatal, was the approach of the ascetic spirit ; and it was this tliat 
enabled it to gain a hold so mighty upon the early professors of the 

* Wilson's Vishnu Puiaiia. 


faith. Satan became transformed into a sylph of light, very beauti- 
ful in appearance, and too diminutive to be supposed capable of 
working harm. By this means the capitol had been taken before 
the enemy was discovered ; and the principle in question was too 
congenial to human nature to allow of any prolonged resistance 
when its evils became apparent. 

At an after period, when the advocates of the system were called 
upon to defend it from the attacks of its opponents, precedents were 
sought in the Scriptures. Jerome (Ep. 49) cited Elias and John 
the Baptist as the fathers of monachism, and referred to the sons of 
the prophets, who dwelt in the fields and solitudes, and " erected 
for themselves tabernacles near the Jordan ; " and also to the Re- 
chabites, " who drank no wine nor strong drink, and dwelt in 
tents." It was supposed, from a misconstruction of Exod. xiii. 2, 
that the first-born who were sanctified to the Lord embraced per- 
petual virginity, and that Mary was one of the temple virgins thus 
consecrated. The Carmelites were so specific in their assertions as 
to maintain that Elias was the first of their own order, and that he 
was called " bald-head " because he had adopted the tonsure. By 
some writers it was argued that there was a regular succession of 
hermits upon mount Carmel from the sons of the prophets to the 
time of Christ ; and that these hermits, having at an early period 
embraced Christianity, continued the succession to the twelfth cen- 
tury, when the order was introduced into Europe. The community 
of goods, for a time adopted by the apostolic converts, was adduced 
in defence of another branch of their peciiliarities. 

As the ascetic principle is universally prevalent in the heart of 
man, and requires scarcely any encouragement to call it forth, to 
activity, it is in vain to enquire how it arose in the church of Christ, 
or in what form it was first manifested. There are many virtues 
essential to the evangelic life, that, if carried to excess or perverted 
from their original intention, would each do something towards the 
advancement of this specious delusion. Of this kind are humility, 
the non-resistance of injuries, chastity, fasting, prayer, almsgiving, 
abstraction from the world, and communion with God. There is 
not one of these graces that the recluse does not imagine he fulfils 
in a better manner than other men ; and upon this he founds his 
claim to superiority of holiness upon earth, and to a greater degree 
of glory throughout eternity. 

The high estimation in which celibacy was held by many mem- 


bers of the primitive church was probably of spontaneous origin. 
It would at first be commended by those pastors of the church in 
wliom there had been a departure from the simple doctrines of the 
gospel, as enunciated by the apostle Paul, Rom. iii. 38. Among 
those who listened to their instructions would be many who had 
received as much light as was necessary to enable them to discover 
their own wretchedness, but not enough to lead them to the cross 
as the source of brighter expectations. These mistaken neophytes, 
o-lad to discover any course that held out a prospect of deliverance, 
would be ready to embrace the ascetic principle, and put it to the 
test. The pastors, receiving these convictions as the evidence of a 
divine attestation to the truth of their words, would be induced to 
give greater prominence to this principle in their pviblic addresses ; 
and the multitude, ever ready to look at the outward and visible 
form, rather than the inward and spiritual grace, would begin to 
regard the celibate with peculiar reverence, causing a class of per- 
sons to arise whose pernicious influence upon the church was like 
that of the palmer-worm among the vine-leaves or the locust in the 
cultivated vale. The order of development might be thus : — 
Occasional continence, 1 Cor. vii. 5, would pass into perpetual ab- 
negation ; and chastity would pass into celibacy. The motive 
would be at first concealed, then avowed, followed by the applauses 
of the crowd and the sanction of the church. The avowed celibates 
would cling to each other from similarity of position ; in their 
mutual intercourse certain observances would be regarded, and 
then a code of laws would be formally drawn up, and an association 
known by some particular name would be organised. In the be- 
ginning, admission would be open to nearly any candidate what- 
ever ; but a period of probation would afterwards be appointed and 
restrictions would be placed upon the privilege of membership. 
The members would at first carry on their own concerns ; and 
then the rulers of the church would interfere. There would, at 
the commencement, be a simple acknowledgment of the excellence 
of celibacy ; and then vows to maintain it inviolate, at first whdst 
connected with the association, and then until death, would be made. 
No change in the mode of dress would at first be insisted upon ; 
but in process of time a particular habit would be adopted. Instruc- 
tion might at first be given to the celibates or virgins at separate 
hours, after which a separate place would be assigned to them in the 
churches. The next step was, to leave entirely the habitations of 


men, and reside in the wilderness; and at last, to erect monasteries, 
in which the recluses could be assembled, whether from the city or 
the forest, and be leagued together as one family, apart from the 
world. The way to the desert had been previously thrown open, 
by men who fled thither from persecution, and who, from the ad- 
vantages they found in a life of retirement, were induced to make 
it their permanent abode. 

By common consent, the title of the father of monachism (among 
Christians) is given to Anthony, who in the Decian persecution 
took refuge in the mountains of Egypt, and there adopted a course 
of the most rigid self-denial. After living twenty years in solitude, 
amidst the vivid associations that could not fail to be presented by 
the ruined tower in which he dwelt, he began a more active career ; 
and proclaiming to others the privileges ol' the anchoret, he estab- 
lished two settlements to which many resorted for the love of God. 
But the institutor of the conventual life was Pachomius, who 
founded the first cloister in the island of Tabenna, on the banks of 
the Nile, a. d. 340. Until this period each monk performed his exer- 
cises alone, not far fiom his own village ; but Pachomius gave to 
the recluses by whom he was joined a system of rules, and sub- 
jected them to control, by this means forming the associations that 
had formerly existed without discipline or inspection into a regularly 
constituted order. These examples were soon followed in other 
parts of Christendom. The names of Ammon, Paul the Simple, 
Hilarion, and Simon Stylites will ever be renowned, unless the time 
should come when men will have too many objects of present inte- 
rest to allow them to contemplate the follies of the past. Eusebius, 
bishop of Vercelli, about a. d. 350, retained the clergy of his dio- 
cese in his own dwelling, that he might instruct them in the duties 
of their profession, and by this means introduced a form of monastic 
observance that is supposed to have given origin to the institution 
of regular canons. •'' Basil, an eloquent writer, and one of the most 
eminent men of his age, introduced monachism into Pontus and the 
neighbouring provinces, a. d. 378. By Athanasius, it was intro- 
duced into Rome ; by Benedict, into the other parts of Italy ; by 
Martin and Cassian, into Gaul ; and by Boniface, into Germany. 

* The canons were a middle order between the monks and secular clergy. 
They adopted the monastic discii^hne and manner of life, having a common 
dwelling and mess ; but they did not take upon themselves any vows. They 
were appointed to discharge nunisterial functions in certain churches. In 
some monasteries there were both canons and monks. 


The strong hold that monachism, about the same period, gained 
upon the church, may be inferred from the eminence of its sup- 
porters, and the wide expanse over which they were spread. 
Aniong its advocates, in addition to the names already mentioned, 
were Ambrose, in Italy ; Gregory Nazianzen and Chrysostom, in 
Constantinople ; Jerome, in Syria ; Epiphanius, in Cyprus ; and 
Augustine, in Italy. It is said* that Pachomius had 1300 monks 
in one convent, and more than 7000 in other places, under his in- 
spection. In another convent, in the Thebais, there were 5000 
monks, and in the single city of Nitria there were fifty convents. 

The priests of the different countries where Budhism is professed 
appear to have a greater resemblance to each other than we see 
among the various orders of Christendom ; and there has been in 
general less departure from the precepts of the institutor of the 
system. The monks not having, like the Budhists, a code of laws 
that they regarded as given by inspiration, any one was at liberty 
to establish a fraternity and give to it whatever laws he pleased. 
The anomalies presented from this source were nowhere more 
apparent than among our own countrymen. Without mentioning 
the differences between the British, Scotch, and Roman monks, 
there were the various rules of St. Patric, St. Congal, St. Colunib, 
St. Molva, St. Columban, &c. among the Irish and Scotch ; and 
St. David, St. Asaph, St. Cuthbert, St. Adhelm, &c. among the 
Britons and Saxons. Even in Alfred's time there were " diversi 
generis monachi ; " and after the conquest, at the general visita- 
tion of the houses, a. D. 1232, there were not, among the Bene- 
dictines, two monasteries that lived after the same manner. f The 
different gradations of authority that now exist in the monastic 
hierarchy were formerly unknown ; its provincials, generals, 
chapters, and congregations, are comparatively a recent addition to 
the institute.! Each founder of a monastery legislated for his sub- 
jects, uncontrolled by the opinions or commands of a superior. 
Although this diversity of operation was generally lamented, Ber- 
nard pleaded that the principle was correct, as " there must be in 
the church a variety in external forms and modes of life, in order 
to adapt it to the various necessities and circumstances of mankind ; 
but that since the several members were united by the spirit of love, 
these differences could be no cause of schism." § But innovations 

* Gicsler's Text Book. f Tanner's Notitia Monastica. 

I Lingard's Anj^lo-Saxon Church. 

§ Neander's Life of St. Bernard, by Matilda Wrench. 


did not cease with the foundation of the convent, as each succeeding 
abbot modified, by addition or retrenchment, the discipline previously 
established, sometimes borrowing from the rules of other monaste- 
ries, and sometimes framing new constitutions in his own right. 
By this means the peace of the fraternity was sometimes destroyed, 
although in other cases the authority of a definite rule would be a 
great advantage. About 1223, a contention having arisen between 
the abbot of Evesham and the rest of the community, relative to 
some almost obsolete regidations, all the ancient customs, before 
traditional, were collected and written down by the abbot, and 
afterwards submitted to the pope for his approbation."' The great 
number of different orders that arose rendered it necessary that a 
stop should be put to the practice, and Innocent III. decreed that 
no new order should be established. Gregory X. issued a similar 
decree relative to the mendicants. In the index to Hospinian's 
valuable work on the monks there are the names of 203 different 
orders, and some account is given of each order in the text. The 
interference of the popes, however, was sometimes exercised in a 
pernicious manner, by relaxing the severity of the original rules ; 
and by glosses and explanations further changes were effected, 
through which more rapid strides were made towards corruption. 

The diversities of practice among the monks present themselves 
under almost every form to which we may direct our attention. 

By some fraternities ignorance was accounted as a virtue, and to 
others we are indebted for the preservation of nearly all we know of 
antiquity, including the record of divine revelation. The first 
monks being laymen would almost necessarily be ignorant, and 
from their previous habits would despise all kinds of literature, 
whether sacred or secular. Thus, the monks of Citeaux, leading an 
ascetic life, in silence, prayer, and manual labour, were regardless 
of literary occupations ; whilst those of Premontre, who were nearly 
coeval in their foundation, combined with these exercises an assi- 
duous attention to intellectual pursuits. f There was in Italy a 
particular order calling themselves Brothers of Ignorance, who all 
took an oath not to know anything or learn anything. " All the 
monks, in reality," said Luther, " belong to this order." That the 
earlier priests of Budha were ignorant we may infer from the fact 

* Tindal's History of Evesham. 

t Benington's Literary History of the Middle Ages. 


that their sacred institutes were not committed to writing until up- 
wards of 500 years after the death of their founder ; and if they 
had been men of general intelligence it would not have been pos- 
sible to palm upon them so great a mass of absurdities and incon- 
sistencies as is contained in the records they profoundly venerate. 

The changes that took place throughout the Roman empire soon 
after Christianity was generally received have been too exclusively 
referred to the inroads of the barbarians. The reading of the 
ancient classics would be discouraged by the pastors of the church, 
lest they should lead the young student to admire with pernicious 
intensity the system that a little time before had held in the same 
regions an unlimited sway. We who are of more recent times can 
peruse the myth or the legend ; we can listen to the rythm that has 
never been surpassed in the pleasantness of its cadence, or to the 
periods that are unequalled in the majesty of their roll ; we can con- 
template the manifested conceptions before which the mightiest 
sages have bowed down in lowly reverence ; and the only effect 
they produce is one that is testhetic, and not religious. But it was 
not so in the earlier centuries of the Christian era. The student 
then beheld around him the monuments of a superstition that 
might yet have some hold upon his affections; here was the mighty 
shrine, still beautiful, that had been erected by his own ancestors ; 
there the very statue, 

" which, if made 
By human, hands, seem'd not of human thought," 

before which his mother or some other beloved relative had been 
accustomed to worship ; from his playmates in the country or the 
slaves with whom he was most familiar among the domestics at the 
city residence of his parent, he would hear many a tale of nymph or 
of dryad ; and the barbarous words or pleasant echo of many an 
ancient invocation would be impressed upon his memory, as he 
listened to it over the blazing faggot or in the stillness of the moon- 
light. Hence it came to pass that the scholars in the medi-a^val 
monastic establishments were commanded to look upon all heathen 
authors with suspicion ; the only use to be made of them being to 
learn therefrom " the rules of grammar, the quantity of syllables, 
and the laws of metre." In some foundations, as in that of Isodore, 
the perusal of heathen authors was entirely forbidden. Justinian, 
by an edict, imposed a perpetual silence upon the schools of Athens, 
under the idea that heathenism was still inculcated in the lectures 


of its professors.* Nor let it be said that these fears were ground- 
less. We may see the power of ancient associations, even when the 
tenets of a better faith are professed, in the bardic poetry of our own 
country, and in the great number of old customs having a. pagan 
origin that are still clung to with a tenacity that proves their 
strength, when even the death-struggle has long been carried on. 
There is also, in countries where heathenism is still professed, a 
danger lest the toil of the student or the care of the controversialist 
should be received as an act of homage to the excellence of the 
works over which they pore. When these dangers had passed 
away, the monks of some of the fraternities embraced the advan- 
tages of their position, and freed themselves from the trammels, 
now become comparatively useless, by which their predecessors had 
been properly bound. Basil and his companions, in their retire- 
ment on the banks of the river Iris, spent a considerable portion of 
their time in the study of the Scriptures, in which they availed 
themselves of the assistance of the commentators, and especially of 
Origin. Benedict enjoined his disciples to read, copy, and collect 
books. In the sixth century the recluses of both sexes were en- 
joined by the founders of the monasteries in which they lived to 
employ a certain portion of their time in reading the works of the 
fathers. Libraries were established, and to the more feeble of the 
monks was assigned, although not to them exclusively, the duty of 
copying manuscripts. In the next century the times for study were 
regularly appointed, and public examinations and discussions were 
held, that it might be seen whether the students had turned to good 
account their opportunities of acquiring knowledge. Upon the 
character of the abbot much would depend, both as to the nature 
of the studies, and the diligence of the transcribers. John Whet- 
hamsted, abbot of St. Albans, caused more than eighty books to be 
written during his abbacy ; and by the care of one of the abbots of 
Glastonbury fifty-eight were written. In 1305 the monks of Bolton 
gave thirty shillings, the price of two good oxen, for the Book of 
Sentences, by Peter Lombard; "but," says Dr. Whitaker, their 
historian, " I can only discover that they purchased three books in 
forty years." The library of the Grey Friars, London, built by Sir 
Richard Whittingdon, was 129 feet long, and 31 feet broad, and 
was well filled with books. There were 1700 MSS. in the library 
at Peterborough Ingulf tells us that when the library at Croyland 

* llallam's Literature of Europe. Giesler's Text-Book. 


was burnt the monks lost 700 books. The ecclesiastics were some- 
times assisted by the munificence of laymen. William, son of 
Richard de Perci, gave three ox-gangs of land, with five tofts, at 
Dunesley, to the chauntor of the abbey church at "Whitby, to make 
and write books for the church ; and Richard de Paston granted a 
rent-charge of twelve pence per annum to the convent at Broniholm, 
to keep their books in repair. Two water mills were assigned to 
the precentor of Bury Abbey to find parchment and ink for the 
convent. The literary labours of some of the monks, since the 
invention of printing, more particularly of those forming the con- 
gregation of St. Maur, are too well known to require more specific 

The priests of Ceylon are entitled to a share of the praise re- 
ceived by the western recluses. When the literature of the island 
was nearly annihilated by the ravages of the continental kings, they 
set themselves to copy and translate the principal works connected 
with their religion, which they procured from Burma and Siam. 
But they have written very few original works; and those they 
possess abound so much in repetitions from each other, that it be- 
comes a tedious exercise to read them, after one or two of the more 
celebrated have been perused. 

The advancement of Christianity will have an effect upon the 
literature of Asia, similar to that which was produced upon the 
study of the classics, when the gospel first began to grapple suc- 
cessfully with the ancient religions of Greece and Rome. In India, 
the supreme power being in the hands of Christians, the native 
pimdits receive comparatively little encouragement ; the pastors of 
the church discountenance the reading of the ancient books by their 
converts, unless it be by a few, for the purpose of refuting their 
arguments or exposing their absurdity ; and in a little time, more 
especially with Pali literature, the most active of its students will 
be men of another land and a different creed. And as the oriental 
scriptures, when their contents are known, possess no such fascina- 
tion as that which will ever attract men of taste to the perusal of 
the relics of Greece and Rome, it is not improbable that many of 
the books written in Sanskrit and Pali will in time be entirely un- 

* Neander's Bernard. Hallam's Literature. Ecrriiigton's Literary His- 
tory. Burton's Monasticon. Taylor's Index Mouasticus. Whitaker's His- 
tory of AVlialley. Tanner's Notitia Monastica. ^^^litaker's History of 
Craven. Hospinianus de Monachis, 


read, and perhaps their style unintelligible. This process of decay 
is already apparent in Ceylon. There being no outward stimulus 
to exertion, the priests exhibit no enthusiasm of study, and many 
of them are unable to read at all. In China these effects are still 
more apparent, as it is said that few of the priests in that country 
understand Pali. Its peculiarities preclude its being written with 
alphabetical accuracy in the Chinese character, so that it degenerates 
into a complete jargon, wherein the sound is but imperfectly jire- 
served, and the sense not at all. But the people of the east have im- 
mense advantages over those of the west when in the same state of 
transition. Our forefathers did not fight merely for the settlement 
of local institutions, however wide their immediate influence may 
extend. They wrote, and spoke, and bled, for the establishment of 
principles. These principles and institutions, with all the improve- 
ments that experience has taught us are necessary, are taken to the 
inhabitants of India, and in the vigour of their energy are at once 
presented for their imitation, or authoritatively promulgated for their 
adoption. They may sometimes mistake our meaning, as when the 
people of some parts of the Company's territory, at the time trial 
by jury was introduced among them, complained that, after they 
were compelled to give the government so many lacs of rupees an- 
nually for the administration of justice, they should be obliged, 
after all, to administer it themselves. But it requires only a little 
experience to enable them to see the greatness of the boon they 
have received. As their language will remain unchanged, they 
have another advantage over the west. It was in the period when 
the Latin language became imintelligible to the mass of the people, 
and the modern languages were not fully formed, that the torpor 
was presented which seemed to paralyse the powers of the intellect 
to so great a degree that, during several ages, there was little im- 
provement in either art, science, or the literature connected with 
sacred truth. 

The monks were not all bound by an inviolable oath ; as among 
the priests of Budha, the obligation to further obedience was some- 
times a voluntary act. In the number of recluses addressed by 
James, of Nisibis, there were some who had dedicated themselves 
to continence by a vow, and others by resolution. Philip Neri 
forbade any of his disciples to bind themselves to the community by 
oath or vow. The bond of union was to arise from mutual affection 
and respect. The French Oratorians, founded by Peter de Berulle, 


arc a congregation of priests who live in voluntary poverty and 
obedience. They can of their own accord leave the congregation. 
On this account they are said not to be " religious men ;" but their 
title to belong to the order would have been allowed in more an- 
cient times. 

There was no uniformity in the practices of the various orders of 
monks, as to the nature of their employments, or the manner in 
which they sjient their time. Upon some of the monks manual 
labour was enjoined as a duty. In the Regulations ascribed to 
Basil (Ba:ul. Regula, c. 37), there is this declaration: — "Since 
our Lord Jesvis Christ says not generally that every man, but that 
the worlcman is worthy of his meat, and since the apostle directed 
us to work with our own hands, in order that we may give to him 
who hath need, it followeth, that to work honestly is a manifest 
duty. F'or we should neither make use of religion as a pretext for 
idleness, nor as a means to escape labour." Basil said also, that 
those trades should be preferred that did not interfere with a tran- 
quil and peaceable life, that occasioned little trouble either in pre- 
paration or disposal, that require little intercourse with others, and 
that did not minister to vanity. Chrysostom relates that the monks 
of Egypt imitated the zeal of the apostles, passing the night in 
sacred hymns and vigils, and the day in prayer and the work of 
their hands. Cassian tells us that the monks laboured in order 
that they might support those who were suffering from famine, 
and those who were in prison. Augustine records that the monks 
of Syria and Egypt, from the produce of their labour, sent ships 
laden with provisions to distressed districts. Among the trades 
that were followed we see smiths, weavers, builders, &c., who de- 
voted the avails of their labour to relieve the indigent.* The fol- 
lowers of Anthony and Pachomius made mats and baskets. The 
patriarch of the western monks enjoined his followers to devote at 
least seven hours a day to manual labour. But this command was fol- 
lowed with less exactness Avhen the circumstances of the church had 
become different in their character. The accession of wealth rendered 
labour unnecessary as the means of obtaining a subsistence ; and 
the lower motive for its continuance having passed away, the higher 
one soon followed. It was seen that the monks could employ 
themselves more pleasantly, as well as more usefully, in literary 
pursuits. The language employed in the exercises of religion had 

* Neander's Life of Chrysostom, by Stapleton. 


ceased to be spoken in the lands where it was once the most power- 
ful testimony to the greatness of the Roman power ; and even in 
Rome itself it was fast giving way to the mellifluous dialect by 
which it was succeeded. The priests of Budha have never exer- 
cised any trade, or become artisans. All kinds of manual labour, 
except agriculture, are regarded in the east with great contempt ; 
and it would be far easier to persuade men of the higher castes to 
undergo a severe penance, than to induce them to saw a plank, or 
forge a nail, or weave a web. The sacred books being written in 
Pali, the same necessity existed among the sramanas to study this 
language that there was among the monks relative to Latin ; and 
the assiduity with which they have set themselves to this task is 
seen in the number and extent of the grammars they have written, 
and in the glosses and comments by which they have explained the 
text of their scriptures. The obligation they are under to seek 
their food by carrying the alms-bowl from door to door, frequently 
gives employment to nearly the whole of the morning ; and they 
afterwards teach the novices or write books upon the leaf of the 
talipot. In the practice of medicine they sometimes employ their 
time to a good purpose, though this course is not sanctioned by the 
institute. From some of the employments that engaged the atten- 
tion of at least the higher orders of the monastic fraternity the 
priests of Budha are entirely free. The yellow robe has never been 
covered by the coat of mail, nor has the voice of the sramana been 
heard amidst the din of the battle. In 1075, William the Con- 
queror ordained that no abbot should judge any man to the loss of 
life or limb, or give his vote or countenance to any others for that 
purpose; but in 1264, sixty-four abbots and thirty-six priors sat 
in the English parliament.* The disciples of Gotama have some- 
times been engaged in intrigues, both at the court of the monarch 
and at the hall of justice ; but they have never become judges or 
legislators. In their tem23les there are no chantries, " instituted 
and endowed with possessions, that masse might there bee songe 
for the sowle of the founders and their kindred," nor were lands 
ever granted to them " to saye masse and oder service for ever, for 
ye (donor's) sowle and for fader and moder, and for all christen 

Relative to diet, there was also considerable diversity of practice. 
By some orders animal food was entirely prohibited, whilst the 

* Biu'ton's Monasticon. Taylor's Index Monasticus, 


excess of good cheer enjoyed by others of the monks brought the 
system into general disrepute. Even in the same age the monks of 
one country differed from those of another in their dietetic observ- 
ances. When in Wittemberg, the usual food of Luther and his 
brethren was bread and herrings ; but when he arrived on the banks 
of the Po, in his journey towards Rome, the consequences of which 
were so momentous, he beheld the table at the Benedictine monas- 
tery covered with every delicacy ; and though he said indignantly 
that the church and the pope had forbidden such things, his re- 
proof produced no reformation. The average consumption of food 
in the abbey of Whalley, when in the zenith of its prosperity, was 
200 quarters of wheat, 150 quarters of malt, 8 pipes of wine, 132 
oxen and cows, 120 sheep, 60 calves, and 30 lambs, three-fifths of 
which appear to have been expended at the abbot's table, and two- 
fifths at the inferior tables and in alms-deeds. The resident popu- 
lation of the monastery amounted to 120 souls, exclusive of visitors 
and mendicants, who were daily partakers of the monastic hospi- 
tality. In 1381, the estabishment at Sallay abbey consumed 70 
head of cattle annually, or nearly a beast to every person. The 
establishment at Bolton consisted of a prior, 15 canons and 2 con- 
versi, besides certain armigeri ; 30 free servants inter curiam, from 
70 to 80 servants extra curiam, and a number of domestic slaves, 
of whom more than 20 must have been attached to the abbot ; in 
all more than 200 persons. In one year they consumed, wheat 
flour, 319 quarters ; barley meal, 112 quarters ; oatmeal for pottage, 
80 quarters, and for dogs, 39 quarters; provender for horses, 411 
quarters ; oats malted for ale, 636 quarters ; barley, 80 quarters. 
Besides venison, fish, poultry, &c., they slaughtered annually 64 
oxen, 35 cows, 1 steer, 140 sheep, and 69 pigs; and consumed 
113 stones of butter; with spiceries in abundance, viz. 2001b. 
almonds, 721b. rice (for which 9s. were paid), 191b. pepper (for 
which 21s. Id. were paid), 41b. saffron, 251b. cummin, maces 1 
quartern, figs and raisins 1 rase. And in one year they purchased 
1800 gallons, or at least 8000 bottles of wine.* Were a bill of fare 
to be presented from any of the eastern pansals, though it were 
one in which the priests were not remarkable for their abstemious- 
ness, it would bear a very different aspect, as its items would be 
almost exclusively confined to rice, fruit, vegetables, and spices. 
But we are not from this to argue their superior sanctity, as little 

* Whitaker's Histories of Whalley and Craven. 

B B 


else than vegetable aliment is used by the people among whom 
they live. 

In other arrangements there has been a greater similarity among 
the laws and customs of the different orders of ascetics. 

The Pythagoreans were commanded, before they arose in the 
morning, to call to mind the actions of the previous day. They 
were to try to remember the first action of the day, and then to go 
on through each succeeding period ; and to call to mind the nature 
of the conversations they had held, and with what persons. Upon 
many of the monks a similar exercise was imposed ; and the no- 
vices among the Budhists are enjoined to be very particular in their 
attention to this duty. Ephrem, of Edessa, advised his disciples to 
examine themselves strictly every morning and night, as the trader 
casts up his losses and gains. But the disciples of Gotama have 
no acts of worship similar to the canonical hours of the monks, as 
in the rule of Benedict,--' who, in allusion to Psalm cxix. 62, 164, 
appointed the horae canonicae to be the nocturnae vigilae, matu- 
tinae, tertia, sexta, nona, vespera, and completorium. 

In the fourth century the (^oaKoi are mentioned as wandering 
about in companies. About 360, the Messalians appeared, wan- 
dering beggars, who imagined that prayer alone was necessary for 
the blotting out of sin, and despised all public worship. Benedict 
mentions (Reg. c. 1) a kind of monks called Gyrovagi, "semper 
vagi etnunquam stabiles," who committed great excesses; and says 
that it is better to be silent about them than to speak of their 
iniquities. They were worse than the Sarabitae, who are mentioned 
by Jerome (Ep. 22) in terms similar to those usually employed in 
describing pretenders to piety ; he tells of their " coarse garments 
and abundant sighs," not forgetting " the detraction of the clergy." 
Both monks and nuns are mentioned by Augustine (De Opere Mo- 
nach. c. 28) as leading an unsettled life, at one time stationary, 
and at another wandering; some sold the relics of martyrs, and 
others imitated the Pharisees in the ostentation of their dress. f It 
was not unusual with the monks of the middle ages to travel even 
to distant countries, with the professed object of finding a suitable 
place in which to live secluded from the world ; but in many in- 
stances it was the mere love of adventure that led to these perilous 

* Gicsler's Text-Book. 

t Hospin de Monachis. Riddle's Ecclesiastical Antiquities. 


wanderings. There is extant a poem called the pilgrimage of St. 
Brandon. This ecclesiastic, with a number of monks, set out in 
quest of a place of retirement, where they could carry on their de- 
votions unmolested. In the course of their memorable voyage they 
visited an island supposed to be one of the Canaries. Among the 
Mahomedans there are itinerant dervishes, Sayyat, the most re- 
markable of whom are the Calendars, who are bound not to remain 
long in one place. Many attempts were made to check the wan- 
dering propensities of the monks. By both popes and synods they 
were forbidden to leave the monastery without the abbot's consent, 
or to ramble from one monastery to another. In 1478, thirty-one 
monks were allowed to make excursions from the abbey of Whalley; 
and in 1521, only five, on account of the expense. They were also 
charged not to leave the congregation to which they belonged, and 
out of vanity or ambition to seek a new cell, or commence a frater- 
nity. In some instances there was a commimion of privilege be- 
tween different monasteries, as between those of Malmsbury and 
Evesham, by virtue of which, if any one, by the suggestion of the 
devil or his own depraved will, should leave his proper residence 
without leave of absence, he was to be allowed refuge in the other ; 
and if he afterwards repented and made satisfaction, he might be 
reconciled to his own foundation and restored to it, unless his fault 
were such as deserved deprivation." *■ It was natural for them to 
wish to indulge their curiosity relative to the world without ; and 
to preserve them in patient obedience to the ordinations of restraint 
was a work of difficulty. It is said, in a petition presented to 
Henry VI. by the monks of Whalley, that " dyvers that been 
anchores and recluses aforetime contrary to theyre own oth and 
professyon have broken owte of the plase where they are reclusyd 
and departyd therefrom wythout any reconsilyation ;" and they 
especially complain of one Isold of Heton, who was not " willyng 
nor entendyng to be restoryd agayn, and so livyng at her own liberte 
by this two yere, and more like as she had never bin professyd." f 
Among the injunctions to the nuns of Nun Apploton, in 1489, 
were these : that none of the sisters use the ale-house, or the water- 
side, where the course of strangers daily resort ; and that " the 
prioress license no sister to go a pilgrimage, or visit their friends, 
without a great cause, and then to have a companion." 'l In some 

* Tindal's History of Evesham. f "SVhitaker's Whalley. 

X Biirton's Monast. Ebor. 

BB 2 


instances, however, the opposite principle was carried to extrava- 
gance. Speed and Stow relate that at the burning of the city of 
Meux, by William the Conqueror, there was an anchorite residing 
within the walls of the Church of Our Lady, who preferred to suffer 
martyrdom, rather than break the vow he had made never to quit 
the place of his retirement.* 

In the earlier records of the Budhists there are frequent instances 
of large numbers of priests wandering about from place to place, 
generally in search of some convenient spot in which to perform 
the ceremonies of their religion that require solitude and seclusion 
for their proper exercise. The spread of Budhism into different 
countries was facilitated by this spirit of restlessness, and it would 
appear that some of the regions that are sitviated at a distance from 
the birth-place of Gotama are indebted to it for their knowledge of 
his doctrines. To the travels of Fa Hian we have frequently 
had to refer. Accompanied at first by a number of companions, 
but afterwards permitted to pursue his journey alone, he travelled 
about 1200 leagues by land, and more than 2000 by sea, and visited 
thirty kingdoms. In 502, Soung-yun and Hoei-seng traversed 
many of the same regions, and about a century afterwards Hinan 
thsang visited almost every part of India. In 964, the emperor of 
China sent forth 300 priests to collect relics of Budha and copies of 
the sacred books. f From other countries similar pilgrimages have 
been commenced, and embassies of almost equal magnitude have 
been undertaken. Yet the priests have not been prompted to these 
extended wanderings by the restraints of the wihara, as they are 
under an obligation to pass its limits every day, and they may be 
seen abroad at almost all hours. I have sometimes been visited by 
them at night ; but it was regarded as contrary to rule to be absent 
from the monastery at such a time, unless it were for the purpose 
of reading bana upon some public occasion. " The intimate con- 
nection," says Humboldt, in his Cosmos, " which existed amongst 
the different Budhist sacerdotal establishments contributed its in- 
fluence to diffuse a great variety of vegetable forms. Temples, 
cloisters, and burying-places were surrounded by gardens, adorned 
with exotic trees, and covered by variegated flowers of different 
forms. Indian plants were early diffused over China, Corea, and 

* Taylor's Index. 

t Sykes's Notes on the State of Ancient India, Joiunal Royal As. Soc. 
No. xii. 


Nisson. Siebold was the first to draw attention to the cause of the 
mixture of the flowers of remotely separated Budhist lands." This 
interesting result is strictly in accordance with the habitudes of the 
priests, in all ages of which we have any record ; and if the native 
works were more specific in details of a similar kind, it is probable 
that we should be able to trace many other existing affinities to the 
same source. 

When the Hindu yogis are about to perform dhyana, they are in 
the first instance to reduce the appetites of the body by medicines. 
I have not met with any custom of this kind in the works I have 
read, as practised by the Budhists. There are many regulations 
relative to the sick diet of the priest ; but they are to be observed 
in times of disease, and not as a moral appliance. The spare food 
of the priests, and their rule not to eat anything solid after mid-day 
(though liquids may be taken without a breach of the command), 
preserves them in the enjoyment of health, and they frequently live 
to a great age. But in the west there has been a greater tendency 
towards the practice of the Hindus, rendered necessary, we may 
suppose, by the gross diet and uncleanly habits of many of the 
monks. The monks of Citeaux were obliged to submit to a regular 
bleeding, in February, April, June, and September, for the purpose 
of subduing the flesh more effectually; and the sum of £6 18s. in 
silver money was granted to the monastery at Evesham to be an- 
nually and for ever divided among those monks "who are let blood, 
for defraying their expences in blood-letting." *- 

In nearly all the monastic orders, to whatever religion they may 
belong, there are persons of various grades, upon whom obligations 
are enforced in proportion to the sanctity of the class. In some 
orders, as in the tertius ordo de Paenitentia of Francis, there were 
members who observed the rules without withdrawing from the 
world. In the monasteries there were monachi laici, who formed a 
middle order between the clergy and laity, the position in which 
the monks themselves stood until the tenth century. Even after 
the monks received ordination, the distinction was kept up with 
the utmost strictness between the regulares and the clcrici saecu- 
lares, who were priests with the cure of souls. Stephen, a noble- 
man of Auvergne, instituted a new species of monastic discipline in 
1073. His followers were divided into two classes, clerks and con- 
verted brethren, upon the former of whom he imposed the observ, 

* Ncandcr's Bernard. Tiiulal's Historv of Evesham, 


ance of an uninterrupted silence. Attached to the more celebrated 
orders there were individuals called fratres adscript!, among whom 
were many nobles, and even monarchs, who therebj' received the 
right to assume the monkish habit at the approach of death. The 
Jesuits, after a noviciate of two years, take the simple vow of scho- 
lars, binding themselves to chastity, poverty, and obedience, in the 
presence of the domestics of the establishment in which they reside. 
The professed Jesiiits, when their studies are completed, make 
their vows again, in public, after which they cannot be dismissed 
but by the order. There is another vow, to undertake any mission 
enjoined by the pope, which is taken by some, but is not binding 
upon all ; in this case they are called spiritual coadjutors ; but 
when the fourth vow is not taken, temporal coadjutors.* In Bud- 
hism there are properly only the samanera novices and the upa- 
sampada priests. All are required to observe the ten obligations 
and the precepts of the Patimokkhan ; but in addition to these, 
there is a great multitude of observances that are represented rather 
as being beneficial than as absolutely binding ; and as each indi- 
vidual is permitted to practise as many of them as he chooses, there 
may be an almost endless variety of classes. It was the adopting 
of a distinction of this kind that first led to the idea that there are 
gradations of merit in the church, which was followed by the still 
more fatal error of works of supererogation. 

The exhibition of a republican spirit is another feature in which 
nearly all orders of monks are agreed. The doors of the monastery 
have ever been open to all who were willing to enter ; and from the 
aids presented by the system, many a low-born peasant has worked 
his way to the honours of the abbacy or the episcopate. By the rule 
of Benedict, the superior of each monastery was chosen by the suf- 
frages of its inmates. In the establishments belonging to this order 
no distinction was shown to the novices or monks on account of 
birth or rank ; all the residents were equally required to practise 
the severities of the rule, and take their share in manual labour. It 
was the granting of exemptions to respectable individuals, under 
the pretence of health, that first caused a relaxation of monastic 
discipline. The monks of La Trappe not only obey the superiors, 
but also the lay brethren, although they know that they are in the 
wrong. Thvis, a monk having an imperfect model set before him 
that he was to copy, followed the model implicitly, though he knew 

* Alban Butler's Lives. 


that by so doing he set the music of all the church books wrong. 
The abbot of Evesham was required to preserve entire the number 
of monks, and was neither to receive nor to reject any one, either 
for a time or for a perpetuity, without consent of the convent, or of 
its greater and wiser part, assembled in chapter ; nor was he to 
confer any estates, or dismiss the tenants and husbandmen, without 
the consent of his brethren. The same principle is acknowledged 
in India. The missionary Rhenius says in his Journal, " There 
are four candidates for the office of high-priest (among the Jainas) ; 
one of whom the people are now assembling to elect. This 
election of priests by the majority of voices, is a curious circum- 
stance. The Jainas appear to be thorough republicans, not in 
religious matters only, but also in civil." Among the Budhists 
there is an almost unlimited admission of postulants ; nor are any 
to be rejected, unless, as we have noticed, the candidate be deformed, 
diseased, or the servant of another. When admission has been ob- 
tained, and the rite of ordination been passed through, there is 
perfect equality among all the members, as regards the reception of 
privilege and the exercise of power. It was a mighty achievement 
that was accomplished by Gotama, when in India, where the fetters 
of caste are riveted with the greatest strength, he successfully in- 
stituted an order that sets its restraints at open defiance, and joined 
the raja, the brahman, the sudra, and the outcaste, in one common 
brotherhood. Among the persons who were first admitted to the 
priesthood by Gotama, according to an ancient legend, were several 
princes of liigh rank. Upon a festive occasion they stole away to 
a private place, having previously agreed upon the course they 
would pursue, and taking off their ornaments gave them to the 
barber Upali.* The barber reflected that if it would be a gain to 
the princes to become recluses, it must be a much greater advan- 
tage to him to embrace the same mode of life ; and he at once re- 
solved to follow their example. The princes consented that he 
should accompany them, and when they came to the village in 
which Budha was residing at the time, they requested, as a mark 
of their sincerity, that the barber should be ordained first. They 
thought that, as they would have to worship him because of his 
prior admission, their return to the world would be thereby pre- 
vented, as it would be impossible for them to brave the ridicule of 

* The barber afterwards became a priest of some consequence, as will be 
seen by a reference to pages 175 and 336. 


their relatives, who in that case would say, " What, is it you who 
worshipped the barber?" Budha approving of their design, the 
barber was admitted first to ordination, and was worshipped by the 

There is no order among the Budhists distinct from that of the 
presbytery, the sangha being a congregation of theros, or elders, 
presided over by a moderator, who is strictly primus inter pares. 
Whilst maintaining the necessity of a succession, the power is re- 
garded as being resident in the association, and not in the indivi- 
dual. The idea of a succession is not lightly treated by the 
Budhists, inasmuch as they consider that there can be no true 
sangha unless its members have been admitted to the order by a 
previous sangha, of legal constitution ; and carrying back the same 
thought another step, they do not consider any sangha to be legally 
constituted, unless there has been, in the same manner, a succession 
of regular appointments, from the commencement of the order. 
When in any country the succession has been lost, no attempt has 
been made to create a spontaneous sangha. When better times 
have come, application has been made to some other country for a 
renewal of the authority. And even when certain classes have 
been illegally shut out from the reception of the order, they have 
in no instance that has come under iny notice regarded themselves 
as forming a perfect church, until the succession was legally re- 
ceived. The confession of sin being made to the priests when 
assembled in chapter, and not to an individual, is another proof of 
the popular spirit that runs through the system. It is also worthy 
of remark, that if all the priests in any given temple or district, 
though regularly ordained, were to be guilty of some misdemeanour 
requiring absolution, it would be out of their power to hold a legal 
sangha, until they had been absolved by some priest who was free 
from the same impediment ; and although the absolving priest were 
to be guilty of some other, and even greater misdemeanour, it would 
be no bar to his exercise of the power of absolution. In the ancient 
church confession was made openly to the whole assembly of the 
faithful ; but as this course led to great evils, the power to receive 
confession was confined to the clergy, by which the exercise of dis- 
cipline was in time perverted from its legitimate uses. The struggle 

* Pujawaliya. I omitted to say, iii the fifth chapter, that when any one 
-» as admitted to the priesthood by Got